Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mojave Walkabout

Last week, after finishing a hike in the Mojave desert, I wandered over to a small dry lake that I had spotted. A lot of interesting features are pretty easy to reach using the web of dirt roads that criss cross the desert. I saw this playa from the highway and it was easy to get there. So easy that I wasn't surprised to see lots of tire tracks and trash from other visitors. I spotted 3 former bonfires with piles of debris ranging from bottles, cans, a bicycle, mysterious metal pieces, and lots of propane fuel tanks. It almost looked as if people wanted to tempt fate and see what happens when you disregard the ubiquitous warnings and toss those tanks into a fire. It was probably teenage boys.

More interesting was the very green rocks that were lying about on the playa. Nearby there appeared to be a surface mining site where this green rock was being harvested. Here's a link to a Google map of this lake bed. I had tried to drive up Cronese Lake road, off the Basin Road exit, but was stopped short by the very deep sand when the road crossed a wide wash. I wanted to visit the East and West Cronese Dry Lakes. Maybe another day, with a better SUV.

Then I drove up to the powerlines that parallel I-15 all the way from Los Angeles to Primm, NV. Actually, according to one of my topo maps, they continue on to the Hoover Dam. There were 4 separate columns of towers carrying high voltage lines. Like lines of soldiers marching toward Los Angeles from the generators at the Hoover Dam. You might notice in the photo (from left to right) that 1 set carries 2 triplets of lines, 1 set carries 3 single lines, and 1 set carries 3 pairs of lines. I got out my handy-dandy EMF sensor to check the magnetic and electric fields. The electric fields were off the scale for all sets. The magnetic fields were lowest for the set with 2 triplets - and that seems reasonable since they'd have a good deal of field cancellation. The set with 3 pairs of lines was next lowest. The set with 3 single lines showed magnetic fields off the scale also. Here's a Google map of the powerline road that I visited.

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