With the recent upsurge of environmental awareness and the terrible landslide tragedy in the capital city refuse dump, I thought it opportune to express my repugnance at Guatemala’s desecration and abandonment of its natural beauties and scientific treasures.

We geoscientists frequently pause on roads to admire, and try to understand, an exceptional geologic example or view. Garbage irresponsibly dumped specifically at such a roadside location deeply disappoints and saddens us.

Perhaps brief geologic descriptions of the interesting sites, tied in with photo documentation of both geology and incriminating garbage, would foster public and tourist interest and help provoke public indignation.

For this early Blog stage, we have a rare spectacular display of a columnar basalt lava flow. Note in the foreground the white garbage. The contrast with the magnificent natural rock formation is more than distressing.

The small size of the columns highlight an unusual, tightly swirling and folded basalt lava, in flowing waves. The columnar shapes are due to roughly hexagonal cooling joints from a solidifying hot molten lava flow. I don’t know the reason for the exceptional small, convoluted columns. Perhaps minor local variations in topography into which the lava pooled and cooled. Maybe even some water was involved. Perhaps you can give us some ideas. Most basalt columns we are familiar with are vertical and more than about 20 cm in diameter.

Join the crusade. Send in your incriminating garbage-geology photos with comments (and coordinates if it is possible), and participate in our modest effort to civilize, educate, and beautify our Guatemala.

km181 basalt

Location: km181.8 ; Carretera Pan Americana CA-1. En la bajada de "Alaska" a Cuatro Caminos. Arriba de Totonicapan.

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