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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Loess You Know, The Better - Part 1


Here's a question bound to prompt heaps and scads of rational, interesting discourse (or not):

  • Which is the coolest Loess Hills?
  1. Loess Hills around Natchez, Mississippi; or
  2. Loess Hills of Western Iowa.

Please discuss.

18 Comments:

Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

I, for one, am shocked to find out that there are loess hills anywhere other than western Iowa.

I think the sandhills of Nebraska might be better than both.

I am certain that the white sand dunes outside of Yuma are better than both.

While pretty much any geological formation created by wind or glacier moving giant piles of dust and sand around is cool, clearly the style and location of those piles has a direct impact in the level of coolness.

Being located in Mississippi does nothing to add to the loess hills located there. But is Mississippi cooler than western Iowa??

The loess hills of western Iowa are famous around Iowa. Do the loess hills in Mississippi bear the same fame among residents of Mississippi? (would those be Mississippians? - I deftly avoided using that term).

If restricted to choosing between only the two options you have offered, I think I am going to have to go with the loess hills in Mississippi for the following reasons:

1. I have been to the loess hills in Iowa and they really aren't that cool; having never seen the loess hills in Mississippi, thus there is a chance that they are far more interesting and I give them points due to the "mystery factor."

2. Nothing in Iowa is very cool.

3. I did't know, until this morning, that loess hills existed in Mississippi, so I also award those loess hills bonus points for the "surprise factor".

I challenge you and the rest of your readers to dispute my findings that the loess hills of Mississippi are far superior to the loess hills of western Iowa.

10:50 AM, April 26, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

That razor sharp logic could slice Gordon's knot. Seriously.

I am looking forward to the comments of our intrepid cyclist. An amateur rock chunker.

11:22 AM, April 26, 2006  
Blogger PDD said...

I don't really have an answer as to which Loess Hills I think is the coolest.

All I will say is that I like igneous rock. Always have, always will. Seriously.

10:17 PM, April 26, 2006  
Blogger The Velvet Fog said...

Without a doubt, the Loess Hills of Western Iowa are exponentially cooler than those of Mississippi.

Iowa's Loess Hills extend the entire length of the Missouri River valley in western Iowa, and penetrate eastwards anywhere from 2 to 10 miles. The Loess Hills in Mississippi are not anywhere near that extensive. Iowa has thousands of square MILES of loess hills, a feat that is only matched by loess deposits in the Yellow River valley in China. That makes the Iowa Loess Hills one of only two places in the world where such extensive loess formations were deposited. The Loess Hills are home to unusual species of flora and fauna like the spineleafed yucca and plains spadefoot toad, which are usually found in the desert southwest.
Beneath the Loess, near the Harrison-Monona county line deposits of volcanic ash have been discovered that come from now extinct volcanoes in the Yellowstone region and date to 710,000 years old.

Be realistic George.

8:54 AM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

I could agree with you, Phineas, but you left out a few words at the end of your first sentence. Here is what I think you meant to say:

"Without a doubt, the Loess Hills of Western Iowa are exponentially cooler than those of Mississippi DURING THE WINTER."

But thanks for your input.

7:42 PM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Also, Phineas, would you care to address Flamingo's assertion that the white sand dunes outside of Yuma are better than either of the Loess Hill formations?

7:43 PM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger PDD said...

I like igneous rock godamnit!

12:17 AM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger The Velvet Fog said...

Well, I've never seen Flamingo's dunes, so I can't say for sure. But as I said before, being only one of two places on earth where something occurs makes it obviously much cooler than somethings as common as dunes. For Pete's pizza, Cedar Falls is built on sand dunes.

7:56 AM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

I wouldn't have thought an amateur rock chunker such as yourself would have to actually cast eyes upon a geologic wonder like the white sands of Yuma, Arizona to have at your brain's disposal the salient information to refute Flamingo's claim.

Plus I think you've seen that Mickey Rourke movie. We rented it together from Stars and Stripes, if memory serves. Back in the Mohican days. Or maybe you were still too busy doing homework in the library and massaging your cello in the evenings to have joined us back then.

12:29 PM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger The Velvet Fog said...

Like I said, I aint like that no more. My wife, she cured me of drink and wickedness.

But if I was to want a free one, it would be with you.

12:57 PM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger PDD said...

Hello, I like igneous rock.

WTF?!

2:59 PM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

Fog, clearly the loessing of hills occurs in more places than two on this planet.

We already have identified western Iowa, China and Mississippi.

And you call yourself a geologist?!?!?!

You didn't even calculate in the "surprise factor" at all. Sheesh.

4:28 PM, May 01, 2006  
Blogger PDD said...

Umm... I like igneous rock!!! What the eff's the matter with all of you.

Rude.

Word.

Out.

7:23 PM, May 01, 2006  
Blogger The Velvet Fog said...

Flamingo, Flamingo...
You've been inhaling too much exhaust from your non-human powered bicycle. Of course the loessing of hills occurs all over.
As Loess is only airbone sediment.
However, there are only two places on the planet where this loessing occurs with such profundity and majesty and splendor.

7:52 AM, May 02, 2006  
Blogger PDD said...

I think the velvet is riding his bike a little too fast and a little out of breath and forgot to bring a banana for a snack break.

2:47 PM, May 02, 2006  
Anonymous IA transplant said...

Twenty + years growing up on the loess of Iowa and thirty + years living on the loess of Mississippi. I have yellow dirt on parts of me I haven't seen in years. Strip the vegetation off the MS hills around Vicksburg and decrease the yearly precip by 10-15-in. and there isn't a kindchen bit of difference between them and the ones around Council Bluffs and Sioux City. Just as tall, just as rugged, just as dusty, same exponential grainsize trail-off, same basic grainsize distribution. Except for one thing geological and that is a deeper section up there than down here. More interesting because of multiple glacial stages, etc. than our single (?). Nobody has explained what happened to the earlier stages down here. On the other hand, we have more no-shoulders and other critters of interest, some two-legged.

2:44 PM, May 04, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Iowa transplant - I very much appreciate your dropping by to offer some actual scientific thoughts on the topic. These other fools have really disappointed me with the depth (or lack thereof) of their knowledge.

They clearly know loess less than you.

Thank you!

8:03 PM, May 04, 2006  
Blogger PDD said...

Garrett, while I haven't yet read the comment by transplant, I have read yours and I laughed out loud. I love when someone says fool. I don't know what it is with that word, but anytime it's spoken I laugh out loud.

Seriously,

PDD

9:56 AM, May 05, 2006  

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