A Trip Along Highway 1

James and I have begun to work out more of the details of our posting schedule. As stated earlier, our main posts will occur roughly once a week. Currently, in these main posts we are discussing the relationship between religion and politics. After a main post, the other one of us may submit a brief response (e.g. James’ last post, Government: The Greatest Lawgiver). So, you can expect a longer post from James continuing our overall discussion sometime next week. In addition to the main posts, we thought that, since most of the people reading this are family, it would be nice to have a regular schedule of posts that would just give brief updates of what’s going on in our lives. From now on, one of us will write a “personal update” post once every two weeks. That means you’ll hear from each of us once a month. Of course either of us may make random posts at any time. Thus begins my first personal update.

As most of you know, Elizabeth and I are now living in a new apartment south of Stanford and up in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This apartment isn’t really any closer to Santa Cruz, but it does allow me to drive along a much nicer route without adding any additional time. Now, my commute typically begins with 20 minutes of driving on the very windy and deserted 1.5-lane Tunitas Creek Road. Most of this drive is through dense redwood forest with a little creek along the road, and I often see no cars on for this entire stretch of the commute. At the bottom Tunitas Creek Road I hit Highway 1, which runs all of the way up and down the California Coast and consequently goes right through Santa Cruz. The route along highway 1 is more populated with cars, but traffic is pretty much non-existent, and the scenery is impressive, especially when a Pacific Storm is on the way and the waves are really big. Most of the shore is lined with cliffs and only broken by occasional beaches. This was the setting I had in mind when I wrote “Interring the Subterfuge.” Here is a picture I took of Pigeon Point Lighthouse a couple of days ago.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

This quarter I’ve been taking a Structural Geology course in order to improve my geology background. So far I’m really enjoying the class. I think I will like being a geologist. Last weekend we did our first field trip, and guess where we went…Highway 1 near Tunitas Creek Road. As it turns out there is a lot of interesting geology along the coast. We spent most of our time looking at faults and fault zones, but at the end of the day we went by a spot called Pebble Beach, which has some really cool rocks called turbidites. These form in underwater avalanches (often triggered by earthquakes). They are essentially a sequence of layers with grain size and density decreasing as you go up through the deposit. Basically, the dense cobbly parts of the avalanche fall out of the flow first and then smaller and smaller things settle out. You can see part of the turbidite sequence in this photo (it starts with cobbles on the right and gets finer grained to the left). Since the beds were deposited they’ve been tilted up vertically an lifted out of the ocean. Tomorrow I’ll be going on another field trip, this time a little further north on the coast.


Though I may spend a lot of time driving on Highway 1, I’ve been doing some other things as well. My first paper finally has gotten published. Most of you probably can’t get that version for free, but there is also a copy here – not that any of you really want to read this. I’m also working on a second paper which we hope to submit to Nature soon. It would be a big deal to get it published there, but I don’t have my fingers crossed. I’ve now officially applied for a postdoc position at Minnesota and will hopefully hear back about my first fellowship application within the next month. I’ll keep everyone posted regarding the job situation as it develops.

Matt, the elder brother


9 Responses to A Trip Along Highway 1

  1. covingtonfamily says:

    I know everyone in the family will enjoy reading these personal blog entries. I also like the pictures.

  2. nopockets says:

    I have to say, I was amazed when James said you talked on the phone for over 2 hours earlier this week. That’s a really long time. I’m glad to see that the blog is creating a lot more dialog between you, on and off the public script.

  3. Shirley says:

    It’s great to hear some personal news from you. The pictures you posted are great. Is Minnesota you 1st choice? Have you heard any more from Missouri?

  4. Matt says:

    Slovenia is my very first choice. I should hear back about that fellowship relatively soon. Within the US, Minnesota is certainly one of my top two choices (I would like to visit there before I make any final decisions). It is currently the only position where the professor definitely has funding (it’s just a question of whether he wants to hire me).

  5. Susan Seaman says:

    Are there many caves in Minnesota?

    I liked the pictures. I think the Pacific coastline is so pretty.

  6. Carol Huneycutt says:

    The St. Paul / Minneapolis area is really nice. We went there on vacation several summers ago. There is a lot of neat camping and outdoor stuff to do in that general area. It’s also MUCH closer to home!

  7. Matt says:

    Unfortunately, there aren’t many caves in Minnesota, though there are some. Also, the drive to Missouri is the same as the drive I typically do to go caving in California. I think if we move there we’ll have to get more into canoing on lakes and cross-country skiing.

  8. Lisa says:

    What?? I clicked on the link and it’s not even the whole paper!! I wanted to read it.

  9. Matt says:

    The whole paper is there. Were you looking at the link for the “free” version? If so, that link shows you the abstract. Over on the left you can click on PDF to download the whole paper.

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