Monday, March 28, 2011

WOGE #277

After spending entirely too much time looking for brown spots in the world's deserts, I was able to locate WOGE #276 by Felix Bossert.  I think this edition will be easy for at least some people, so I am invoking the Schott rule (past winners must wait one hour for each time they have won).  I have also rotated the image so that North is not up.
For anyone new to WOGE, to win you must identify the location shown (by name and/or coordinates) and offer some comment on the geology (go here for a more complete explanation of the rules).  Once you have found my location it will be easy to find out about the interesting geology that underlies the man-made features you see.  The winner gets to post the next WOGE.  If no one finds this within the next day, I will post a second picture.


  1. On WOGE 276, I received the following posting:

    Brian Vanderkolk said...

    There is something wrong with Matthew's blog. I cannot post. It insists on me selecting a 'profile', none of which I have. Here at least one can select anonymous or provide a name/url.

    I have solved the game, but am unsure if it's past the three hours I have to wait required by the Schott rule. There is no indication of a time zone on Matthew's blog. But it's been close to three hours since I first looked at the image so should be good.

    Finally, I'd email him, but I can't find a contact method either.

    Anyway, for the record, the location is Avery Island, Louisiana, USA. 29°54N 91°54"W. I have more details ready.

    I don't know if anyone will see this.

    I am posting at 01:18 March 29 UTC.


  2. Congratulations to Brian Vanderkolk for solving WOGE #277. Sorry for the problems with my blog. I am new to blogging and probably have some settings wrong. I will try to fix it so you can tell us what you have learned about Avery Island. If you still can't post on my blog then hopefully Felix will not mind if you add another comment on his.

  3. Excellent. All that was needed was the extra entries in the profile list. All seems to be working now. Anyway, here is what I was going to post:

    Avery Island, Louisiana, USA. 29°54N 91°54"W. North has been rotated to point to the lower left, approx 225°.

    This island is owned by the McIlhenny family and home of the McIlhenny Company, the makers of Tabasco brand pepper sauce. Tabasco was invented in 1868. Although the peppers are grown in various countries, all seeds originate on Avery Island. Further, the peppers are still hand picked and pickers have a colored stick which they compare the peppers to. They only pick peppers of an exact color. The company is still family owned and run, currently in its sixth generation.

    Oh... you want the *geological* significance.

    Avery Island is a salt dome. They are formed when layers of evaporite minerals intrude vertically in a diapir. The salt and other trace minerals were deposited in waters where evaporation concentrated the dissolved minerals, not unlike the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Over time, the mineral layer becomes buried by sediments. The mineral layers are less dense than the overlying sediment, thus they are buoyant. Eventually the salt pushes up like a bubble through the sediment layers.

    Salt domes are commercially significant not only for the salt, but also for the fact that oil and natural gas are often associated with them. As the salt pushes upward the layers of sediment are tilted which creates pockets of impermeable layers where the hydrocarbons become trapped and collect.

    The northern side of the Gulf of Mexico has a great number of salt domes as well as being a major source of oil and gas production.

    I immediately recognized that this must be a low lying region due to the canals. It looks 'marshy'. I first scanned around SE Asia, mainly Cambodia and Viet Nam. Next, I took a very quick look at the Congo. After that I went to Florida. Finally I thought of Louisiana and once there it didn't take too long.

    An excellent location, not only for the geological significance but also the culinary.


  4. WoGE #278 is online!


  5. Thank you for the excellent explanation of how salt domes form. Just to explain how the features you describe correspond to the picture: Of the hundreds of salt domes in the Gulf coast region of the United States, this is one of just five that reach the surface. During the U.S. civil war in the 1860's, workers were digging here to try to expand a saline spring that had long been used as a source of salt. They discovered rock salt just 16ft(5m) underground. The first rock salt mine in the United States was soon opened, and it still operates today at the head of the canal that cuts deeply into the island. The branching canals alongside the island provide access to oil wells, which started being drilled here in the 1940's. Finally, the factory that produces the world-famous Tabasco sauce is located near where the road enters the island, and the fields where some of the peppers are still grown are spread out along the east side (right side in my photo) of the island.
    I look forward to seeing what Brian has chosen for WoGE #278.