Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday - MA post office

With our lovely hostess Marie, at Vintage Postcards.

I was traveling last week and was sure to stop at this brightly painted building, that I had noticed on a previous trip to western Massachusetts.

This is the West Chesterfield MA (Massachusetts) post office at 627 Main Road (also know as State Route 143), 01084-9998. "For students and children?" Is it a museum? No it is an honest-to-goodness US Post Office. I checked on line.
Too chicken to go in (and running later for meeting a friend for lunch!) The population of West Chesterfield is 147 people.

This post office should NOT be confused with the Chesterfield MA post office, less than 2 miles away on route 143, with the zip code of 01012-9998.

Chesterfield MA has a population of 523 people.

Both these towns (I use the word loosely) reached their peak of population over 100 years ago, double (or more) what it is now. West Chesterfield is more of a hamlet. Chesterfield has two general stores, a town meeting hall, the library, a bed-and-breakfast, several churches, the ambulance/fire station garage (volunteer of course), and maybe other businesses that are not on the main road. It was founded in 1752, has few to no modern houses, no gift stores or boutiques. In other words, an untouched New England town.

P.S. When they called this place New England, they meant it! Other counties in Massachusetts are Berkshire, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bristol, and Plymouth.

Mysterious Sentimental Landscape

An old divided back card from Europe. It may be Czech writing on the back - I cannot tell. It has that extra air of mystery that I like.

Friday, September 25, 2009

PFF: Geology of Florida

A late hello for Postcard Friendship Friday.
Published by the Florida Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL.
From the back of the card:
"The surface and shallow subsurface of Florida is composed entirely of sedimentary rocks - limestone, dolostone, sand, and sandy clay, deposited in and near a shallow marine environment. The thick section of carbonate rocks underlying the state has given rise to our many large springs and lakes. Florida produces 75% of the nation's phosphate and has large reserves of high-quality limestone, sand, peat, fuller's earth and heavy minerals."
Florida has much fresh groundwater and caves underground and beautiful lakes and springs, such as Weeki Wachee. However, pollution that gets underground can quickly contaminate the groundwater.
Phosphate is used as a fertilizer.
I was on the road last week, so a late entry today!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Geology Postcard: Oklahoma PFF

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday, with our lovely Hostess Marie.

Published by the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman OK
From the back of the card:

"The geology of Oklahoma was formed through millions of years when rocks that represent each geologic time period were deposited. Sedimentary rocks dominate exposures across the state, with major areas of igneous-rock outcrops located in the Arbuckle and Wichita Mountains of south-central and south western Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Geological Survey was formed in 1908 to investigate the geology, the energy-, mineral-, and water resources of the State and to make the results available to the public."
First of all, the 'mountains' of Oklahoma are really ranges of hills. The prairie are so flat though, they must have looked impressive.
The red colors on the map are old, uplifted igneous rocks. The tan and green colors are the various sedimentary rocks. The squiggles of yellow are recent river deposits - everything since about the Ice Ages is recent to a geologist!
The cross-sections at the bottom contain some important information. This is a view sideways through the crust and you can see the bending and folding of the layers. (How do they know this? Interpretation of seismic or earthquake studies.) The Anadarko and Arkhoma basins have produced a lot of petroleum, and continue to produce oil and lots of natural gas, which is Oklahoma's main petroleum product. An overview on how these resources formed is described on a Survey webpage. Oklahoma is not living in the past however. They are investigating wind energy too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Alabama Geology Postcard - PFF!

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! With our lovely hostess Marie.

Today's card is published by the State of Alabama Geological Survey. "Compiled from Special Map 221 of the Geological Survey of Alabama."
Hmm. The printing on the legend is pretty small on this one, and I did not scan at a super high resolution. I'll tell you though that most of the rocks in Alabama are sedimentary rocks, made from rock particles laid down by wind or more likely water.

The oldest rocks are at the bottom of the legend, and the youngest are on top. The pattern in the upper right, of different rock layers trailing from southwest to northeast, is the absolute tail end of the Appalachian Mountains. Now, the Appalachian trail ends in Georgia. No mountains here in Alabama, just low hills. But they were folded like this because of collisions between 2 tectonic plates. Yep, long ago Africa crashed hard into North America (esp. at the latitude of North Carolina), and rocks were folded and uplifted as a result. Think of a carpet on a hardwood floor rumpling. Some folds are big, but they flatten out at some distance from the dog or child doing the rumpling.

Southern Alabama is made of younger sedimentary rocks, laid down when sea level was much higher than today. Pale yellow represents the most recent river and delta sediments. The prominent bay in the south is Mobile Bay.

Happy PFF, and happy geologizing!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Postcrossing!

Happy Postcrossing!

What is it? “It's a project that allows anyone to receive postcards (real ones, not electronic) from random places in the world.”

You send a postcard to an unknown person anywhere in the world. After they receive it and register it, your name goes in the queue for a random person to send a postcard to you. At the beginning, you may send up to 5 postcards at a time.

I was skeptical at first, and wondered if problems could arise – after all, you have to put in your real name and mailing address. Also I was doing this to help my 7 year old daughter with a second grade geography project. I wasn’t going to put HER name in the system!

I chose to send 4 postcards, to Finland, Australia, Germany, and Norway. This included a mom of a 2 year old, a student studying in Cologne, a woman genetics engineer. All sounded like such great interesting people! As they registered my postcards, I was free to then send more. I sent a few more postcards.

Then, a few postcards trickled in. The first was a boring card from Finland. Then one from Taiwan. Then a card from Austria with a reproduction of a painting of a beautiful Austrian princess. A scene from an Irish market town, signed by a mom with 3 children the same age as mine. Then, one from an 8 year boy in Poland, signed up and helped with his English by a neighbor. Well, my children thought this was the greatest thing! Children just like them, sending postcards! That’s when my daughter insisted she wanted her own Postcrossing account.

Since then I have exchanged with at least 3 school groups involved in Postcrossing as a school project, and one home-schooled family also involved in teaching geography this way. I have also exchanged with high school and college students, home-bound people, retirees, and people who love postcards and stamps. In 500 days I have sent 244 postcards, and received 229. I have sent or received cards from 47 countries.

Yesterday the mail delivered my biggest haul of Postcrossing postcards yet – 6!

1. Germany: From a young woman in the tourist industry.
2. Brazil: From a 13 year old boy in an English Language program, sending cards and writing in English as part of an assignment to improve his English. His card was a great photo of Rio de Janeiro.
3. Czech Republic: a man close to my age, very active in Postcrossing, from a small village near Pilsen, who sent a card of a beautiful rushing stream in a Czech nature preserve.
4. Thailand: Postcard of an elephant being trained to paint (!) from Ting.
5. Portugal: From Ana, close to my age and mom of 3 children.
6. Netherlands: from a high school student who loves music and plays the oboe.

Why do I write this entry today? Well, because I received 6 postcards in the mail… but also because I heard from A Postcard a Day that she drew my name in Postcrossing! How unusual is that? It is such a small world.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tennessee Geology Postcard

Published by the State of TN, Dept. of Conservation, Division of Geology. Modified from the Geologic Map of TN, 1966.
Color coding in the legend is for the age of the bedrock under all the loose sediments and soil. Yellow and peach are the youngest rocks, followed by green Mesozoic rocks, and the older Paleozoic rocks. All these rocks are sedimentary: limestone, shale, sandstone claystone, and coal.

The far eastern part of the state is more mountainous, and is underlain by mostly igneous and metamorphic rocks, shown in bright red and burgundy. These rocks are resistant to erosion, so stand high over time. Just to the west is a band of bright pink rocks. This is the Valley and Ridge province. Some layers are resistant and form long ridges. Other rock layers are soft, and weather to form long, somewhat narrow valleys.
More information is at this webpage by Clay Harris.


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