I was told that he had a book about the Civil War in his hands at the end. He was 62 – and a good friend, an occasional collaborator in both writing and outdoor adventure, and my first newspaper boss.
That was in Kremmling, Colorado, in 1977. Shortly after going to work for him that July, I mentioned to him a book I had read, “The Monkeywrench Gang,” by Edward Abbey. He had heard of neither. So I presented him with my copy one late Tuesday afternoon. He promised to look at it over dinner.
Two or three hours later he returned. A pokey writer then, I had written four or five paragraphs of my story. He had loved the book. “A real howler,” he said.
I surmised that he had made it through the opening sequence where Hayduke, Doc, and crew had done their devilment on Glen Canyon Dam, and perhaps another chapter or two beyond.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado is famous for the hydrothermal activity in its groundwater system, though the system is poorly understood. At present, the hot water flow is used for both tourism and the heating of some buildings, but further expansion of the springs’ usage could reduce the effective energy produced in both cases. To better understand the nature and extent of the hydrothermal flow, several geophysical methods were designed and implemented, including: Gravity, magnetics, electromagnetics, seismic, Direct Current (DC) resistivity, and ground penetrating radar (GPR), all of which were tied in with global positioning system (GPS) data. The surveys were designed to determine the structural geology, the locations of water sources, and the direction and magnitude of that flow. These geophysical surveys were employed to give students a better understanding of geophysical methods as well as assisting Pagosa Springs in learning more about the complexion of the springs so as to better utilize the hydrothermal energy without damaging, and hopefully improving, the existing infrastructures.
The data of the geophysical methods was processed, interpreted and integrated by students to attain a plausible explanation of the results and the geothermal system the results describe. At the Stevens Airport and the Barn 3, a survey site far to the south of town, it was shown that the Eightmile Mesa Fault, as well as nearby faults, likely penetrate into the basement geology which could provide a conduit for deep hot water transport. At another site three kilometers south of Pagosa where there were geothermal springs cooler than the Pagosa springs, the data entertains the possibility that there is water flowing from the ridge to the east toward the river to the west. The data also shows that there is likely a fault to the east of the Pagosa Mother Spring. The Pagosa Mother Spring is the main spring in the town that was measured to be at least 1,000 feet deep. Closer to the Mother Spring, on the field southwest and east of the river, the flow of water in the subsurface near the spring was surveyed. Two conduits were expressed in the data: one running east-west and the other going north-south. Finally, one line indicated the possibility of two additional faults north of Pagosa, though further investigation is necessary to better define these results. These integrations can be used to sum up a plausible explanation of the hydrothermal system, however, there are several studies that could still be done in this area to better understand the hydrothermal system as well as hopefully improve the current geothermal usage in Pagosa.
Earlier this month, the Colorado School of Mines Geophysics Department (CSM) released results of research recently conducted throughout the area. After spending two weeks in Pagosa Country this past May, studying characteristics of the area’s geothermal aquifer, a team of CSM students and faculty members provided a lengthy report on findings during that visit.
While not quite as exciting as the almost certain discovery of the Higgs boson that was announced on Tuesday, the report provided some interesting suggestions regarding geothermal resources in the area. Primary among the findings was a suggestion of geothermal resources far more extensive than had been previously postulated.
That report indicated the discovery of three previously unknown faults north, south and west of the “Mother” spring (the Great Pagosa Hot Springs that provides water for local bathers and heating systems).
“First, the seismic results from both the Stevens Airport and the Barn 3 (south of town) line show that the Eightmile Mesa Fault, and possibly other faults nearby, penetrates the basement material,” the report reads. This discovery shows that faults in the area can penetrate the basement (several layers of strified rock that sit atop the water) and provide a conduit for deep and hot water transport.
From email (July 7, 2012) from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):
Over the past two hours, we have been slowly increasing releases from Olympus Dam to the lower Big Thompson River. We are making space in the reservoir for rain that is forecast for this afternoon, evening, and tomorrow.
Inflow to Lake Estes has been picking up with the recent rain storms and more is on the way. This morning, inflow to Lake Estes got as high as 290 cfs. So, we have been steadily increasing our release the last two hours. We’ve been doing it in 20 cfs increments, every half an hour.
By 2:00, we should be releasing 270 cfs from Olympus Dam to the lower Big Thompson River in the canyon.
Normally, this type of increase is not considered too significant. But, we typically make these sorts of operational changes very late at night when few people are out on the river. Also, with the low snow pack and resulting river flow and above average temperatures across the state, we also anticipate people visiting the Big Thompson Canyon might not be expecting an increase in river flow in the middle of the day. So, please feel free to share this information with anyone you know who might be visiting the canyon this weekend.
There is a possibility releases could go as high as 300 cfs. That will be entirely dependent on just how much rain we get and for how long. Folks visiting any river system this weekend should maintain awareness that the forecast weather patterns could quickly change flows.
People waded through waist-deep water Saturday evening in Wellington, where firefighters worked to pump flooded basements — one of which was filled 8 feet to the top step with brown, murky water…
Highway 34 west of Loveland to Drake was closed at 6 p.m. and still hadn’t re-opened by 10 p.m. as crews worked to clear roads of rock- and mudslides along Big Thompson River. Farther south, Interstate 25 was closed at Dacono in both directions for most of the evening…
There’s a 60 percent chance of storms today, with a risk of flash floods especially in burned and previously-soaked areas. On Monday, the chance of storms is 30 percent. Now that much of the ground is soaked, the risk of flooding increases…
In the 24-hour period between 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the rain gauge near Lemay and Mulberry in Fort Collins received 2.6 inches, according to the city’s website at http://www.fcgov.com. Most areas received about an inch.
Here’s a drought-related release from the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District (Diane Johnson):
Drought is intensifying all over Colorado, according to the weekly Drought Monitor. Extreme conditions exist in 71 percent of the state, including Eagle County. This week’s map shows exceptional drought conditions are present in two areas, with the rest of Colorado experiencing severe or extreme conditions.
About 47 percent of the nation’s land area is in various stages of drought, with 8.64 percent of the country in either extreme or exceptional drought.
Local drought conditions reflect this winter’s record low snowpack and continued hot, dry, and windy weather. Flows in local streams are correspondingly low, at 15 to 25 percent of historic averages for this time of year. The Vail Mountain SNOTEL site recorded one-tenth of an inch of precipitation on July 4, the first measurable amount since May 24. If conditions continue to be hot and dry, local streamflows will further decline and may affect the supply of water available to Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.
Should community demand for water outpace the available supply in the public water system, the district will restrict outdoor water usage beyond the current normal regulations, which allow outdoor water use up to three days per week, before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Residents are strongly encouraged to evaluate their outdoor water use and allot water to their highest priorities so the overall community demand for water is reduced.