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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:59 am 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah all,

Although things have been quiet on my end lately, I've been continuing my investigations. I've had to slow down my pace for a number of reasons, but believe I'm narrowing down the possibilities for the Cleft and caldera location. Here's today's snip from my journal:


[Reveal] Spoiler: Here's today's snip from my journal
Code:
Although it’s been several months since I’ve written here, I’ve been by no means idle. After the trip to El Malpais, I’ve been pondering the enigma of vegetation.

It became clear fairly quickly that the vegetation at the old volcanic mountains there was wrong. The Cleft and caldera is in a sagebrush and grasses zone, whereas El Malpais was pinion, aspen and Ponderosa pine. So elevation is an issue.

I’ve made several trips up north to Santa Fe in the past few months and it was pretty clear that the Rio Grande valley looked right all the way to La Bajada Hill. However, the vegetation at the top there shifted to the pinion and juniper, so the Santa Fe area altitude is simply too high.

Tonight, I finally did some online investigation about altitude/elevations for various areas of New Mexico. Here’s what I learned.

•   Las Cruces: 3908' ASL
•   Carlsbad: 3295' ASL
•   Carlsbad Caverns: 3599' ASL
•   Alamogordo: 4336' ASL
•   Socorro: 4579' ASL
•   Albuquerque: 5312' ASL
•   Santa Fe: 7000' ASL
•   Grants: 6460' ASL
•   Gallup: 6468' ASL

Based on the above elevations and what I already know about native vegetation, my best estimate is that the Cleft and caldera are located between 4500-5500 feet above sea level. Lower elevations have more yucca and cholla; higher elevations have pinion and juniper. Now I need to find an elevation map of New Mexico and mark the areas at the above elevation range.

* * * *

What luck! I found something very nice online and have recolored the Cleft zone yellow (from the original shaded green of the map). There are numerous places scattered throughout New Mexico that are good candidates…
 
Combining this map’s information with the volcano and Zone-Tailed Hawk migratory maps, the middle to lower Rio Grande valley and boot heel portion of New Mexico are looking like the best contenders for the Cleft and caldera at this point.


And here is the new map along with the NM volcanoes and Zone-Tailed Hawk maps:


[Reveal] Spoiler:
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[Reveal] Spoiler:
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[Reveal] Spoiler:
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:02 am 
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Wow, this is top stuff. I've only just skimmed it since I'm about to head to bed, but this looks very interesting.
Since I'm on the other end of the world I can't offer a great deal of help, but if you can think of anything I'd be very interested to help along. :D I've been doing a bit of dabbling about a real-life cleft idea myself, but only through writing.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:28 pm 
Nice to see you again Ainia!

Could we get a superimposed image of all three to look at?


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 Post subject: Back atcha Kath!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:32 pm 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah Kath,

Yes, I'm kinda back (though surface life is only barely slowing down its hectic pace). Your map suggestion is a good one but will be a bit tricky since all the maps I've collected are different sizes/resolutions. I may have to do a lot of detail work myself to get them to "play nice" together and create a usable combined map. So we can consider this on my to-do list (along with about a dozen other Uru-related activities :wink: ).

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 Post subject: Hi chrissifniotis!
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:44 pm 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah chrissifniotis!

Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, too bad you're so far away. But if you feel so inclined, now that we have narrowed down the possibilities a bit more, you can always try your hand at GoogleEarth and see if you can't find any suggestive caldera-like shapes online (something I try to do from time to time when I have an evening to spare). Fortunately, the new map has many New Mexico towns and cities marked, so you can find some good starting points without knowing the lat/lon coordinates themselves. Just in case you decide to take me up on this, here's a larger/higher resolution version of that map where you can read the town/city names better:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Image

If you decide to try your hand at this, let me know what you do and how you fare so I don't duplicate your work when I start Googling.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:44 am 
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:shock: Big map! :shock:

Sure, I'll give it a go; I am 'busy' myself right now but I'm finding myself being lazy on a few things. I'll have to look back in the thread later today or tomorrow to see what's been looking into already.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:55 am 
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Location: Cincinnati, OH
Fantastic thread, guys! Keep up the good work. This has all been very inspiring. It's great to see folks getting out and searching the world. Keep it up, keep posting pictures when you can!

A side note, I enjoy doing outdoor stuff and I'm curious about what kind of gear you take with you on your adventures. Do you ever go on any multi day treks?

I was so inspired by my time in the Cavern, and really lucky as well, that I found a group of folks locally that run a chapter of the National Speleological Society. I've got to go on many caving trips with them, and it's been a blessing, but something still beats in me for the Cavern and that electric tingle of linking.

But anyway, I'll be watching this thread, don't ever give up!

-Rehj

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:25 am 
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Okay, now I'm caught up. Very interesting and detailed research. I'll see about using my Google Earth to search the south-western area of the state to look for the type and shape of volcanoes. My input into this may be limited and slow, I'm also working on a project using Google Earth and I won't deny I tend to be lazy. :oops:

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:30 pm 
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Shorah Rehjee and chrissifniotis!

Rehjee, I try to limit my excursions to day hikes these days, particularly since I'm heading into the desert (not the mountains). I take water, snacks, first aid kit, iPhone (with helpful apps and Uru tunes), plus make sure I'm dressed for the weather and season (hat, loose scarf, seasonal clothing, good walking/hiking shoes/sandals). I may add a flashlight and lighter/matches to the list at some point, though they haven't been necessary thus far for day trips. A whistle is a good item to keep handy (though I keep forgetting to get a sturdy one to add to the pack). I keep my reference library in the car in its carrying case, so I can use it when needed after I've finished my hike.

Thus far, my trips have been fairly close to home (within an easy drive for a day trip). I'm assuming that I'll reach a point where I'll need to explore farther afield, so may have to plan a multi-day trip. In that case, I'm expecting to find a strategic home base and then make day trips outward from there, rather than camping out per se.

chrissifniotis, I completely understand that things move slowly! I started this project four years ago, only working on it from time to time, so anything you can contribute will speed things up! (even if only incrementally :wink: )

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:44 pm 
I have made an attempt at making a composite image of a screenshot from Google Earth, Ainia's recoloured hight map, and the volcanic rock distribution. There are quite a number of spots where red and yellow overlap...

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Image


Unfortunately, since the height map wasn't distorted like the other two images, there's a bit of mismatch between the height and the volcanic rock. Ah well. It's close enough.


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 Post subject: Thanks Kath!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:32 pm 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah Kath,

Wow, nice job on the map overlay! I was finding on my end that formations weren't lining up very well (between the elevation and volcanic maps) and so was figuring I'd have to leave the job for another day. There may still be a few places to be fine-tuned but overall, we now have a very nice, usable map!! :D

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:29 am 
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Oh... ohh... DLordofTime... that is ...aaaaawesome. Maps make me geek all over.
Plutonic, quaternary, TRUE JOY!! What a gem!

And, Ainia, it's good to hear your thoughts on adventuring. May you have many more to share with us all!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:46 am 
Well, to be honest, it was quite easy to do. Three layers in PAINT.net, set them all to half transparency, merge them down, set transparency to 0, then sharpen it to bring out the red and yellow.


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 Post subject: Cleft bird update
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:47 pm 
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Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah again,

I've done a bit more research lately into the Cleft bird, this time hunting online for call sounds. Strangely enough, all the calls for New Mexico raptors (including that for the Zone-tailed Hawk) are much higher in pitch, and very different in characteristics from the various calls we hear when visiting the Cleft (or when we visit our Reltos). I even checked the calls for crows and ravens, but found no match there either.

After digging a bit deeper, I found some indications that the DRC identified this bird's call as a vulture**, which makes even less sense since after checking vulture calls online they really have no call at all (but only hiss).

[Reveal] Spoiler: **OOC
The names given to the sound files

In the middle of all this, I *also* discovered another hawk that bears a good visual resemblance to the Cleft bird, the Common Black Hawk. This animal has a very small territory in New Mexico, down in the bootheel portion of the state. Its primary northern territories are Arizona and Mexico.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Common Black Hawk
Image

[Reveal] Spoiler: Territory Map
Image

Altogether, the mystery has deepened once again. The only explanation I can think of offhand for the apparent mismatch between sight and sound with this bird is that it's not a Terran native. I don't remember seeing anything similar on Riven, but I suppose its possible that some ancestors may have fallen through the fissure along with the wahrk and other artifacts. After all, there are indications that the insects we see inside the caldera are not native Terran species (but are quite probably from Direbo)...

Any thoughts??

At any rate, I'm planning to continue my topographic map/Google Earth search for now with a focus on the New Mexico bootheel area, then work my way northward.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:05 am 
Casting my mind back, and assuming I remmeber correctly, your trade route runs through that area. You also may want to consider my map to narrow down your search...


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