July 2019 7.1 earthquake centred on Ridgecrest in Southern California

I’m a natural events freak. I admit it. Ever since the 7.i I have been reading about it.

The Ridgecrest earthquakes of July 4 and 5 occurred north and northeast of the town of Ridgecrest, California and west of Searles Valley, California (approximately 122 miles north-northeast of Los Angeles). There were three main shocks of magnitudes 6.4, 5.4, and 7.1, and many perceptible aftershocks, mainly within the area of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. The first main shock (now deemed to be a foreshock) occurred on July 4 at 10:33 a.m. PDT, approximately 11.2 miles ENE of Ridgecrest, and 8.1 mi WSW of Trona, on a previously unnoticed NE-SW trending fault where it intersects the NW-SE trending Little Lake Fault Zone.

This quake was preceded by several smaller earthquakes, and was followed by more than 1,400 detected aftershocks. The M 5.4 and M 7.1 quakes struck on July 5 at 4:08 a.m. and 8:19 p.m. PDT approximately 6 miles to the northwest. The latter, now considered the mainshock, was the most powerful earthquake to occur in the state in 20 years. Subsequent aftershocks extended approximately 30 miles along the Little Lake Fault Zone. Relatively minor damage resulted from the initial foreshock, though some building fires were reported in Ridgecrest near the epicenter. The main quake on July 5 cut power to at least 3,000 residents in Ridgecrest. Effects were felt across much of Southern California, parts of Arizona and Nevada, as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, and as far south as Baja California, Mexico. An estimated 20 million people experienced the foreshock, and approximately 30 million people experienced the main shock. We didn’t feel it here in Fort Bragg in Northern California.

Click on the images to see full size.

Here’s a map showing where this earthquake and other southern California earthquakes were located:

Location of Ridgecrest Earhquake

Location of Ridgecrest Earthquake

What areas were affected:

Potential disaster area of the Ridgecrest earthquake

Potential disaster area of the Ridgecrest earthquake

These two ground level pics show the damage caused by the quake:

Crack in the earth opened up by the Ridgecrest quake

Crack in the earth opened up by the Ridgecrest quake

Road damage caused by the Ridgecrest quake

Road damage caused by the Ridgecrest quake

This aerial pic REALLY shows the severity of the quake. The road has been displaced several feet:

Road displaced by the Ridgecrest quake

Road displaced by the Ridgecrest quake

This before and after pic I got from Google Maps. You need to click on the pic to see the animated effect.

Before and after animation of the Ridgecrest quake

Before and after animation of the Ridgecrest quake

 

 

 

 

 

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

This, in my opinion, is the numero uno heritage railroad in the USA.  It has run continuously since 1882.

I bring it to your attention for two reasons. One, two couples came into our layout recently bubbling over with enthusiasm over their ride on the Durango and Siverton. Two, I felt the same way after each of my rides.

As one of the United States’s most scenic historic railroads, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNG), with its  steam-powered locomotives and 1880s-era coaches, travels along the same tracks that miners, frontiersmen, and cowboys journeyed nearly 140 years ago. The Durango & Silverton stretch of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad was completed in 1882. It was built to transport gold and silver ore from the more than 4,000 mining claims in and around Silverton, Colorado, to the smelters and mills in Durango, 45 miles to the south. But in the 1910s, the Silverton mining boom began gradually subsiding. The D&SNG was then promoted as a scenic route for travelers and tourists. It remains as one of a very few surviving narrow-gauge steam railroads in the United States.

As it leaves Durango, the train’s multiple-chime steam whistle can be heard reverberating throughout the town and along the Animas Valley. As it proceeds north, the train winds alongside the Animas River as it traverses the green pastures of the Animas Valley and then crosses through the spectacular San Juan National Forest. The remote and treacherous route through the mountains includes a dramatic and stomach-churning stretch along the edge of a narrow shelf carved into the sheer granite cliffs 400 feet above the river. The 45-mile route between Durango and Silverton crosses the Animas River five times, has an elevation climb of 2,800 feet, and takes 3-1/2 hours, with the train chugging along at no more than 20 miles per hour. With a layover of about two hours in Silverton, the round-trip is a full-day adventure.

If you haven’t been. here’s a 10 minute vid to whet your appetite.

 

 

Bourn’s Landing – a note from the owner, Dr. John Bonham

We have a page in the website on Bourn’s Landing – click here to see. At the foot of the page I wrote: “If anyone has any information to throw some light on my/our confusion please contact me.” My plea has been answered – see the e-mail below:

I have owned Bourn’s Landing for over 60 years and may be of some help to your ? lack of knowledge there;

Yes, there WAS a railroad! It was a narrow gauge steam driven typical lumbering railroad. The redwood ties have mostly rotted away and the railroad spikes that we once found are no longer there.

The Engineer was a Chinese fellow but his name is lost to history. He loved to make cookies for local children so his name simply became “Cook”.

He often would have a “cookie party” for children on a nearby beach. Now days, that beach is simply known as “Cook’s Beach

After I received the e-mail I went looking for a map showing Bourn’s Landing. This is the topo map I found:

Map showing Bourn's Landing

Map showing Bourn’s Landing

I was hoping to find the route of the railroad that Dr. Bonham mentions. Alas, no cigar.

What clock sets the official time of the United States? Answer = the NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock located at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.

My wife has an atomic clock. It’s not really atomic but …… I like changing the batteries in it. When I do, if you wait until it is an o’clock, you will see it whiz around and settle EXACTLY on the right time. Quite amazing to this non-technical twit. Club member Jim  Willimas told me that Sarah’s clock gets a signal from Colorado. I guess I have never been curious enough to ask any more questions.

But, I have recently found out how Sarah’s clock gets  “put right.” My info comes from an article in the Daily Mail:

If you’ve ever wondered what clock sets the official time of the United States, look no further. The bearer of that important standard is the NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock, located at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado. Built in four years, and officially established in 2005, the F1 is the latest in a series of increasingly accurate clocks responsible for keeping time for the entire country. The clock will neither gain nor lose a second in the next 80 million years.”

80 million years eh? I guess I won’t be around to see what they do with that lost second. I digress.

The process that the clock uses is, needless to say, extremely complex. Basically, it measures the frequency of microwaves needed to produce maximum fluorescence in a ball of cesium atoms. That frequency–the resonant frequency of cesium–is used to define the second. The “Fountain” in its title refers to the rising and falling of the ball of cesium atoms, which is produced by a group of lasers.

This increased accuracy is not just a matter of idle dispute. The improvement in time measurement can aid advances in telecommunications, satellites and medical technology. It can also be used to obtain a greater degree of accuracy in scientific experiments where the tiniest measurements can make a huge difference–for example, determining the presence of fluctuations in what we perceive as constants of the universe.

What’s this clock look like? Well, it doesn’t look like a clock to me but …….

NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock

NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock

NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock with people showing its size

NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock with people showing its size

I thought about asking for one for my birthday but Then I thought, save your breath!

 

 

The runaway train came down the track and she blew – up! Incredible footage captures trains strapped with explosives crashing at up to 90mph to entertain huge crowds 100 years ago

So sayeth the Daily Mail. I got this link from LeeAnn Dickson – she is the wife of our VEEP Lonnie.

Watching two trains hurtle into each other at full throttle causing complete destruction and chaos might not sound like ideal weekend entertainment. But more than 100 years ago, thousands of people would flock from miles around to do just that. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, showmen in America would intentionally crash two trains, strapped with explosives, into each other to attract hordes of people to a fair. 

Ticket to collide! Trains crash head-on in archive footage taken at the California State Fair. Click here to see. 
 
This one is a staged crash at the Minnesota State Fair in the 1930s. Click here to see.
 
A purpose-built track would be laid with two trains that were no longer fit for purpose placed at opposite ends facing each other. Brave engineers would then fire them up to full speed and jump off at the last second, just before the machines smashed into each other at a combined speed of 90mph and caused huge explosions.  By the late 1800s train crashes were common and often fatal and large crowds would gather to watch the damage caused.  A man known only as A L Streeter was the first to put on an intentional train crash in Buckeye Park, Ohio, in 1896 Pictured is the aftermath of a staged crash at the Crush site:
Train crash

Train crash

 Pictured below are thousands of people looking at a real train crash that happened near Nashville, Tennessee in 1918.

Real crash at Nashville

Real crash at Nashville

But not all of the dangerous crashes ran smoothly. 

Later that year (1896), a man called William Crush started a similar event in the middle of nowhere in rural Texas. Crush’s events didn’t always run smoothly. One crash ended in the death of three people when the trains’ boilers exploded and sent iron debris flying into the crowd. He even created a purpose-built city for his customers by drilling two water wells and inviting the Ringling Brothers to put on a circus. Erecting a grandstand, telegraph office and train depot, the ‘city’ became so big that they named it Crush – after its creator. Before the first Crush crash, he asked the engineers. whether there was any chance the boilers on the steam engines could explode. All of them except one said they wouldn’t. A staggering 40,000 people had turned up to the event – double the number that had been expected. The crowd was kept 200 yards away from the crash zone while the trains both rattled toward each other at 45 mph. 

Joe Connolly, another event promoter, earned the nickname ‘Head-On Joe’ for successfully putting on more than 100 deliberate train crashes from 1900 to 1932. Pictured is the moment just before another crash at Crush:.

Moments before the crash

Moments before the crash

Moments after impact

Moments after impact

Head-On Joe would also decorate his trains to encourage more visitors and make the crash more exciting. Pictured is the crash from the Iowa State Fair in 1932 when he painted Hoover on one train and Roosevelt on the other, depicting the political rivalry that was going on during the presidential election. At the moment of their collision there was an enormous explosion that sent debris flying hundreds of feet into the air. Terrified onlookers sprinted away from the scene but lumps of steel and iron reigned down – killing three people and seriously injuring others. Despite this catastrophe, staged crashes continued to be popular. “

Gualala Hotel

The first hotel in Gualala was built in in the late 1800’s. Here’s what it looked like:

First Gualala Hotel

First Gualala Hotel

The first one burned down in 1900. In 1903 a new hotel was built. Here’s what it looks like:

Second Gualala Hotel

Second Gualala Hotel

Wife Sarah and I took a day trip down south recently and stopped in Gualala for a great lunch. The 1903 hotel was still standing and looked VERY much like it did when it was built:

The Gualala Hotel in 2019

The Gualala Hotel in 2019

 

 

Caspar Lumber Company’s little red schoolhouse on Route 20 between Fort Bragg and Willits

I received this e-mail from Monty L. Coursey, Sr.:

About a year ago, my friend and I visited northern California and drove from FortBragg southward to Sen Francisco through Calistoga. As we went out Highway 20 eastward we came upon the Little Red School House on the right side of the road. We stayed there only a few minutes but as we drove on to San Francisco, we talked at length about the little building and its setting close to the creek. Somehow it has always been special to us and we vowed that the next time we were in California we would go back there. But we were not sure exactly where it is located. Is there any way you could show us on a map how we could find it again?”

The above came with a spifflicating photo of the schoolhouse.

The Caspar Lumber Company's little red schoolhouse on CA Route 20

The Caspar Lumber Company’s little red schoolhouse on CA Route 20

My reply:

“Great photo!!!!!!

The schoolhouse is on the Willits side of the Camp 20 recreation area  click to see map.
The good news is that the last time I passed work has been done to save the roof.