Located in far northwest Sonora, Mexico, the Pinacate volcanic field comprises a 1,500 km2 area of Pleistocene lava flows with over 400 cinder cones and 8 maars.
The volcanoes in the Pinacate are monogenetic—meaning they erupt only once and each have a unique magmatic signature. The field today is part of El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The eastern portion of the field—which is accessible by a vehicle tour route—contains the youngest cones and is mantled by an extensive tephra deposit. One of the most impressive features on the vehicle route is a large maar caldera, Crater Elegante, formed 32 thousand years ago in an explosive eruption when groundwater interacted with magma. The caldera measures nearly a mile in diameter and is the largest maar in the field.
The cinder cones are accompanied by extensive basaltic lava flows, some of which form spiky stiff peaks. Due to the arid, desert setting of the field, most of the cones have experienced very little erosion and retain a relatively youthful morphology. Extensive dune fields surround the volcanic complex, providing a stark visual contrast to the dark basalt rocks.
Top image from Dan Lynch, all other images by author
Aries: A little seaside town on the coast of California. Its small and touristy. The road is blanketed in an odd fog. It doesn’t show up on the map. The GPS says you’re not on the road.
Taurus: An extremely nice mall at near midnight. I think its closed. The store lights are turning off one by one. The loudspeaker music stopped a couple minutes ago. Your footsteps echo on the tiles.
Gemini: Your room when you aren’t home. Thin images of you move about performing all the tasks you might have done that day.
Cancer: A bustling train station. Thousands of people come and go. Nobody notices the half dozen figures cloaked in rags and leading people by the hand.
Leo: The pub reflected in the rainy glass. A shimmering image of you and the various bargoers. Two are missing.
Virgo: The woods outside your childhood home. The snow falls soundlessly on the statues you could have found. Friends you could have met.
Libra: Old town. Cobbled streets and restored antique lighting. Modern infrastructure attempting to masquerade as old iron. The stone well in the town center. The soft voice coming from it.
Scorpio: The basement reading room of your local library. Not many people around this time of day. The door you don’t remember being there. The odd dusty fluid covering the handle.
Ophiuchus: A vast vast desert. The volcanic vents deep below painting the landscape white and black. The dust devil in the distance.
Sagittarius: A gangplank under the pier. You come here to think.
Capricorn: A church in old town that used to be an independent theater. This place would be perfect if you could catch a film. The doors are unlocked. A friend said the projecting equipment was still inside.
Aquarius: A road through flat dusty prairie. A sandwich shop literally hundreds of miles from any conceivable place to live. A fantastic hoagie.
Pisces: The nicest house in the nicest neighborhood. The spiral staircase up to the observatory. Who even lives there now?
Home to Iceland’s wildest, most extreme scenery, the vast, empty interior can be accessed only by four-wheel-drive vehicles. It’s mostly uninhabitable volcanic deserts with beautiful oasis-like areas in between, like this one here
Videographer travels to a village that is still in tact at the foot of Sinabung volcano in Indonesia. That volcano has been erupting regularly since 2010, sending pyroclastic flows down its slopes and causing casualties. This village is now coated with ash, its within evacuation zones and abandoned, and seems to now be owned by goats and dogs.
It’s been three months to the day since I walked across the border into Canada, completing a hike of 2,650 miles up America’s left side.
It’s December now, and all the promises of summer seem ridiculously far away. Because I had so little else to do as I walked my way through the volcanic high desert, the mosquito-laden woods, the dizzying mountain ridges, I planned. I told myself about all the things I would do once I returned to some semblance of a normal life: Learn to box. Publish a magazine article about the trail. Pick up the piano, maybe, or the harmonica. Learn Arabic–why not?
Those dreams have given way to the mundanities of everyday life–my knee jerk reaction is to call it *real* life, but 147 days on the Pacific Crest Trail taught me that this descriptor is a woefully inadequate one for days/months/years spent working and wondering when the fun begins. Bills. Emails. An unpleasant return of softness in the gut. The legs. The brain.
I find that I don’t mind it as much as I thought I might. I like my two teaching jobs. I get to spend half my week with 17-year-olds, who remind me that I’m not nearly as cool as I think I am; I spend the other half working with 4th-graders, who remind me that I’m a lot cooler than I give myself credit for. I get to kiss my fiancée when I come in the door and buy food whenever I want and walk a few blocks to my best friend’s house to play video games or drink a beer and watch a movie.
But today from the window of my classroom I could see clear out across the Puget Sound, and on the other side of the Sound are the Olympic Mountains. On the right kind of day–like today, sunny and clear–they rise impossibly high and snowcapped in the distance, separated from us mere mortals by a layer of cloud, as though floating in the heavens: the rightful place of gods. I can feel those mountains calling to me, whispering to me that I’ll never be settled again. I need something to hunger for. A peak to climb.
This trail has ruined me in all the best ways, hasn’t it?
Photo @ladzinski / Last June I had the fortunate experience to spend the day flying and shooting aerials over the interior Iceland highlands with my good friend @chrisburkard during commercial shoot. The colors and formations of the landscape are other worldly and ever changing. The Iceland Highlands are primarily a volcanic desert, covering the bulk of the interior of the island. The majority of water here is quickly soaked into the ground making it difficult for plant growth, resulting in a vast grey and brown landscape. There are pockets however, vast miles of white snow fields, green moss, vegetation and streams of lahar. The #lahar sediment flows from glacier run off braid the landscape and can only truly be appreciated from high above. by natgeo
Since I’ve driven most of the trip so far, today Michelle offered to drive while I shot some photos out of the passenger seat. We did a fair bit of driving so apologies for lots of road photos.
Today was interesting because we got to see a ton of variety. We got foggy mountains, sunny coastlines, black sand deserts, barren volcanic wastelands, and lush lakes, all over the course of one day. I really don’t think there’s many other places in the world that you can see so much in such a short span of time.
She was many things, and she was not many things. She was a fighter, and she was not a winner. She was a wanderer, and she was not happy. She was a liar, and she was not the Avatar.
She had told her parents that she was returning to Republic City. Over two years had passed, and she could not stay. She told them in a letter, for the day that she left, she told nobody. Not her parents, not Katara or Kya, not Naga. They had all been so hopeful, and she didn’t want to upset them, so Korra just started walking.
She walked through blizzards and deserts and volcanic fields and walked and walked because that’s what helped her feel normal. If she simply walked and did not bend, she was normal. The soreness of her legs each night as she curled up with her bag reminded her that she was human. The sun would rise and the sun would set and Korra took in the world with the sand between her fingers and the sun on her neck and the saltwater of the sea clinging to her skin.
Gabriel García Márquez. “El Último Viaje del Buque Fantasma”. 1972.
“The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship" in fact consists of a single long sentence. A brilliantly crafted story of a troubled boy, fatherless at the outset; his mother soon dies in a freak accident; he is despised by the townsfolk, who ostracize and beat him. From the start, however, he is determined to prove that his nocturnal sightings of a wandering transatlantic cruiser are not a mere phantasm of his mind.
Now they’re going to see who I am, he said to himself in his strong new man’s voice, many years after he had first seen the huge ocean liner without lights and without any sound which passed by the village one night like a great uninhabited place, longer than the whole village and much taller than the steeple of the church, and it sailed by in the darkness toward the colonial city on the other side of the bay that had been fortified against buccaneers, with its old slave port and the rotating light, whose gloomy beams transfigured the village into a lunar encampment of glowing houses and streets of volcanic deserts every fifteen seconds, and even though at that time he’d been a boy without a man’s strong voice but with his’ mother’s permission to stay very late on the beach to listen to the wind’s night harps, he could still remember, as if still seeing it, how the liner would disappear when the light of the beacon struck its side and. how it would reappear when the light had passed, so that it was an intermittent ship sailing along, appearing and disappearing, toward the mouth of the bay, groping its way like a sleep‐walker for the buoys that marked the harbor channel, until something must have gone wrong with the compass needle, because it headed toward the shoals, ran aground, broke up, and sank without a single sound, even though a collision against the reefs like that should have produced a crash of metal and the explosion of engines that would have frozen, with fright the soundest‐sleeping dragons in the prehistoric jungle that began with the last streets of the village and ended on the other side of the world, so that he himself thought it was a dream, especially the, next day, when he. saw the radiant fishbowl. of the bay, the disorder of colors of the Negro shacks on the hills above the harbor, the schooners of the smugglers from the Guianas loading their cargoes ‐of innocent parrots whose craws were full of diamonds, he thought, I fell asleep counting the stars and L dreamed about that huge ship, of course, he was so convinced that he didn’t tell anyone nor did he remember the vision again until the same night on the following March when he was looking for the flash of dolphins in the sea and what he found was the illusory line, gloomy, intermittent, with the same mistaken direction as the first time, except that then he was so sure he was awake that he ran to tell his mother and she spent three weeks moaning with disappointment, because your brain’s rotting away from doing so many things backward, sleeping during the day and going out at night like a criminal, and since she had to go to the city around that time to get something comfortable where she could sit and think about her dead husband, because the rockers on her chair had worn out after eleven years of widowhood, she took advantage of the occasion and had the boatman go near the shoals so that her son could see what he really saw in the glass of; the sea, the lovemaking of manta rays in a springtime of sponges, pink snappers and blue corvinas diving into the other wells of softer waters that were there among the waters, and even the wandering hairs of victims of drowning in some colonial shipwreck, no trace of sunken liners of anything like it, and yet he was so pigheaded that his mother promised to watch with him the next March, absolutely, not knowing that the only thing absolute in her future now was an easy chair from the days of Sir Francis Drake which she had bought at an auction in a Turk’s store, in which she sat down to rest that same night sighing, oh, my poor Olofernos, if you could only see how nice it is to think about you on this velvet lining and this brocade from the casket of a queen, but the more she brought back the memory of her dead husband, the more the blood in her heart bubbled up and turned to chocolate, as if instead of sitting down she were running, soaked from chills and fevers and her breathing full of earth, until he returned at dawn and found her dead in the easy chair, still warm, but half rotted away as after a snakebite, the same as happened afterward to four other women before the murderous chair was thrown into the sea, far away where it wouldn’t bring evil to anyone, because it had. been used so much over the centuries that its faculty for giving rest had been used up, and so he had to grow accustomed to his miserable routine of an orphan who was pointed out by everyone as the son of the widow who had brought the throne of misfortune into the village, living not so much from public charity as from fish he stole out of the boats, while his voice was becoming a roar, and not remembering his visions of past times anymore until another night in March when he chanced to look seaward and suddenly, good Lord, there, it is, the huge asbestos whale, the behemoth beast, come see it, he shouted madly, come see it, raising such an uproar of dogs’ barking and women’s panic that even the oldest men remembered the frights of their great‐grandfathers and crawled under their beds, thinking that William Dampier had come back, but those who ran into the street didn’t make the effort to see the unlikely apparatus which at that instant was lostagain in the east and raised up in its annual disaster, but they covered him with blows and left him so twisted that it was then he said to himself, drooling with rage, now they’re going to see who I am, but he took care not to share his determination with anyone, but spent the whole year with the fixed idea, now they’re going to see who I am, waiting for it to be the eve of the apparition once more in order to do what he did, which was steal a boat, cross the bay, and spend the evening waiting for his great moment in the inlets of the slave port, in the human brine of the Caribbean, but so absorbed in his adventure that he didn’t stop as he always did in front of the Hindu shops to look at the ivory mandarins carved from the whole tusk of an elephant, nor did he make fun of the Dutch Negroes in their orthopedic velocipedes, nor was he frightened as at other times of the copper‐skinned Malayans, who had gone around the world, enthralled by the chimera of a secret tavern where they sold roast filets of Brazilian women, because he wasn’t aware of anything until night came over him with all the weight of the stars and the jungle exhaled a sweet fragrance of gardenias and rotter salamanders, and there he was, rowing in the stolen boat, toward the mouth of the bay, with the lantern out so as not to alert the customs police, idealized every fifteen seconds by the green wing flap of the beacon and turned human once more by the darkness, knowing that he was getting close to the buoys that marked the harbor, channel, not only because its oppressive glow was getting more intense, but because the breathing of the water was becoming sad, and he rowed like that, so wrapped up in himself, that he. didn’t know where the fearful shark’s breath that suddenly reached him came from or why the night became dense, as if the stars had suddenly died, and it was because the liner was there, with all of its inconceivable size, Lord, bigger than, any other big thing in the world and darker than any other dark thing on land or sea, three hundred thousand tons of shark smell passing so close to the boat that he could see the seams of the steel precipice without a single light in the infinite portholes, without a sigh from the engines, without a soul, and carrying its own circle of silence with it, its own dead air, its halted time, its errant sea in which a whole world of drowned animals floated, and suddenly it all disappeared with the flash of the beacon and for an instant it was the diaphanous Caribbean once more, the March night, the everyday air of the pelicans, so he stayed alone among the buoys, not knowing what to do, asking himself, startled, if perhaps he wasn’t dreaming while he was awake, not just now but the other times too, but no sooner had. he asked himself than a breath of mystery snuffled out the buoys, from the first to the last, so that when the light of the beacon passed by the liner appeared again and now its compasses were out of order, perhaps not even knowing what part of the ocean sea it was in, groping for the invisible channel but actually heading for the shoals, until he got the overwhelming revelation that that misfortune of the buoys was the last key to the enchantment and he lighted the lantern in the boat, a tiny red light that had no reason to alarm anyone in the watch towers but which would be like a guiding sun for the pilot, because, thanks to it, the liner corrected its course and passed into the main gate of the channel in a maneuver of lucky resurrection, and then all the lights went on at the same time so that the boilers wheezed again, the stars were fixed in their places, and the animal corpses went to the bottom, and there was a clatter of plates and a fragrance of laurel sauce in the kitchens, and one could hear the pulsing of the orchestra on the moon decks and the throbbing of the arteries of high‐sea lovers in the shadows of the staterooms, but he still carried so much leftover rage in him that he would not let himself be confused by emotion or be frightened by the miracle, but said to himself with more decision than ever, now they’re going to see who I am, the cowards, now they’re going to see, and instead of turning aside so that the colossal machine would not charge into him he began to row in front of it, because now they really are going to see who I am, and he continued guiding the ship with the lantern until he was so sure of its obedience that he made it change course from the direction of the docks once more, took it out of the invisible channel, and led it by the halter as if it were a sea lamb toward the lights of the sleeping village, a living ship, invulnerable to the torches of the beacon, that no longer made invisible but made it aluminum every fifteen seconds, and the crosses of the church, the misery of the houses, the illusion began to stand out and still the ocean liner followed behind him, following his will inside of it, the captain asleep on his heart side, the fighting bulls in the snow of their pantries, the solitary patient in the infirmary, the orphan water of its cisterns, the unredeemed pilot who must have mistaken the cliffs for the docks, because at that instant the great roar of the whistle burst forth, once, and he with downpour of steam that fell on him, again, and the boat belonging to someone else was on the point of capsizing, and again, but it was too late, because there were the shells of theshoreline, the stones of the street, the doors of the disbelievers, the whole village illuminated by the lights of the fearsome liner itself, and he barely had time to get out of the way to make room for the cataclysm, shouting in the midst of the confusion, there it is, you cowards, a second before the huge steel cask shattered the ground and one could hear the neat destruction of ninety thousand five hundred champagne glasses breaking, one after the other, from stem to stern, and then the light came out and it was no longer a March dawn but the noon of a radiant Wednesday, and he was able to give himself the pleasure of watching the disbelievers as with open mouths they contemplated the largest ocean liner in this world and the other aground in front of the church, whiter than anything, twenty times taller than the steeple and some ninety‐seven times longer than the village, with its name engraved in iron letters, Halalcsillag, and the ancient and languid waters of the sea of death dripping down its sides.