An unexpected geological obstacle

2014-09-07aOn the fourth and final day of my drive from Virginia to California, I encountered an unexpected geological obstacle: a rockfall near Flagstaff, Arizona. At least, it was unexpected to me; the locals all knew it was happening.

The high, narrow roadcuts along Interstate 40 near Flagstaff have been a rockfall waiting to happen. Therefore, the Arizona Department of Transportation decided to stop waiting, and used explosives to cause a series of controlled rockfalls. One lane of traffic was closed while the rock was removed from the road. The controlled rockfall ensured that no vehicles were present underneath a natural, unplanned fall.

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After I left Arizona and drove along US95, the sparse vegetation and exposed geology reminded me that I’m not in Virginia anymore. Even though I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the west, I think this was the first time my car was flanked on both sides by lines of dust devils (two are visible on the right side of this photo):

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I’m going to spend the next week trying to take care of all the logistic hurdles involved in moving to a new city, before starting my new job the following week.

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