A birds-eye view of view the landscape as it unfolds is unique. For this reason, many travelers, and especially geologists, try to sit in window seats on airline flights. Unfortunately, many of us are not planning to travel on airplanes anytime soon, and so we will miss out on some great views. At least, we can admire photos!

Geologist Marli Miller is a window seat fan, and she also happens to be a fabulous photographer. As this University of Oregon instructor traveled back and forth across the country in 2019, she amassed an especially large collection of great aerial geology photos. She has put 10 of her favorites in a blog post here: https://geologictimepics.com/2020/01/04/aerial-geology-photos-favorites-from-commercial-flights-of-2019/

Check them out – you will be impressed! My favorites of her 2019 photos are shown below, along with my descriptions.  And I’ll be happy to hear about your favorites.

Aerial view of salt evaporators, San Francisco Bay, California (190521-58)

Salt evaporating ponds in San Francisco Bay – These are always an interesting sight when I fly in or out of an SF Bay Area airport. The array of red to green colors results from different types and concentrations of micro-organisms, a result of salinity differences in the different ponds. The shallow waters and high summer temperatures of the South Bay favor salt production. This is now a modern industry, but it was once carried out by Native Americans.

Aerial view northward of San Andreas fault zone and San Francisco; San Francisco Bay on the east. The fault zone cuts diagonally along the two linear reservoirs in the bottom half of the photo. (190125-24) urban, earthquake, seismicity, transform, strike-slip fault, plate boundary

San Andreas fault zone and San Francisco – This major fault zone is clearly marked by the narrow linear valley immediately west of the cities that extend along the San Francisco Peninsula.  The valley is known as a sag pond, a water-filled depression that typically forms along active strike-slip faults. Many of these are located along the San Andreas fault zone throughout California, and the larger depressions form convenient places for reservoirs. On the San Francisco Peninsula, San Andreas Lake is on the north and Crystal Springs Reservoir to the south. Both dams were built in the late 1800s and withstood the ground shaking from the 1906 San Francisco and 1989 Loma Prieta earthquakes.

Aerial view of Mt. Shasta, a Cascades stratovolcano in northern California. (191006-54) artsy

Mt Shasta at sunset – This photo is my favorite – the lighting is amazing! The photo clearly shows that at least 3 volcanoes built Mt Shasta. Recent eruptions include a mudflow about 800 years ago, an ash flow about 750 years ago, and modest quantities of mudflows and ash in 1786. The 1786 eruption was originally reported from a French sailing ship off the coast at the latitude of the volcano. Mt Shasta and Mt Lassen are part of the High Cascades string of volcanoes that includes Mt Rainer in Washington and Mt Hood in Oregon; all are considered potentially active volcanoes.

See all of Marli Miller’s favorites here: https://geologictimepics.com/2020/01/04/aerial-geology-photos-favorites-from-commercial-flights-of-2019/

Aerial view over the north part of the Grand Canyon by Hendric Stattmann https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grand_Canyon_North.jpg
All other photos by Marli Miller: https://geologictimepics.com/2020/01/04/aerial-geology-photos-favorites-from-commercial-flights-of-2019/

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