Pokémon Go at the USGS National Center
USGS is quite the PokéCenter with 2 Gyms and 8 PokéStops!
So by now, everyone’s at least heard of Pokémon Go, right? Well, we here at the USGS National Center are flattered that our center has no less than 8 PokéStops associated with it and not one, but two gyms! The really neat thing is that the 2 gyms and 8 PokéStops are part of our Rock Garden Walking Tour, where we highlight some of the unique rock types in the Washington, DC, region. So, without further ado, here are the 2 gyms and the 8 PokéStops:
Gym 1: USGS Volcanic Crystals
First up, the gyms. This gym is located at the Volcanic Crystals that welcome you to our campus. You may have seen other hexagonal volcanic columns like these at the Devils Postpile National Monument in California, Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, or the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. These form from cooling lava that fractures into these unique formations. You can learn more about our volcano research here: http://on.doi.gov/2a6b9fR
Gym 2: Cannel Coal
The second gym is located at the Cannel Coal Stop. Cannel coal is a type of bituminous coal, which is the second-highest rank of coal (just behind anthracite). This particular sample has a high carbon content with high pollen and spore content as well. Unlike most bituminous coal, Cannel coal can be carved into ornaments. This sample came from the Eastern Interior Coalfield in Kentucky. You can learn more about our coal research here: http://bit.ly/29T9MO5
PokéStop 1: Leesburg Conglomerate
Now on to the PokéStops! The first one is called the Leesburg Conglomerate. Conglomerates are sedimentary rocks that are made up of various fragments of rock interspersed with finer grained material. This particular conglomerate was deposited as a fan on the northwest side of the Culpeper Basin.
PokéStop 2: Cordierite Hornfels
The name looks like a dragon from Harry Potter, but hornfels rocks are metamorphic rocks. They usually start out as sedimentary rocks like sandstone or shale, but then volcanic material pushes up from below and bakes the sedimentary rock into a metamorphic one. Hornfels are known for being exceptionally tough and durable. This one is from Chantilly, VA.
PokéStop 3: Cockeysville Marble
Marble is a famous metamorphic rock known for its use in sculpture and architecture. This particular marble came from the Campbell Quarry in Texas, Maryland. We track the production and markets of marble and more than 80 other minerals here: http://on.doi.gov/29SoK6a
PokéStop 4: Diopside Crystals
Diopside crystals are made up of Magnesium, Calcium, Silicon and Oxygen, and are usually found in metamorphic rocks. These crystals have developed in some of that Cockeysville Marble from Texas, Maryland. Read all of our other mineral research here: http://on.doi.gov/2arxp1h
PokéStop 5: Dr. William T. Pecora Memorial Dawn Redwoods
This is a memorial to our 8th director, who served from 1965 to 1971. He is known for championing energy and mineral resource research, as well as studying the potential environmental impacts from their development. In addition, 3 days after his death, the first Earth Resources Technology satellite was launched, a program he strongly supported. These days, that project is known as Landsat. You can read about Dr. Pecora and our other directors here: http://bit.ly/2a6LVgd
PokéStop 6: USGS Elevation Marker NC 3
And most appropriately, here’s an elevation benchmark. If you’re an avid hiker, you may have come across one of these in a National Park or National Forest. They were originally used in our topographic mapping efforts to establish elevation markers at various key locations.
PokéStop 7: Coarse Diabase
Diabase is a mafic (meaning high in magnesium and iron), igneous rock that usually forms below the Earth’s surface. This particular one has large amounts of augite and labradorite minerals, and comes from the Lucke Quarry, which is southeast of Leesburg, VA.
PokéStop 8: Barre Granite
And, last stop! Granite is an igneous rock that we’ve used for building materials for thousands of years. It’s name comes from the Latin word “granum,” meaning “grain,” which refers to the grains of quartz and feldspar that define granite. This one is from the Barre formation in Vermont.
So with all of this geologic information at your fingertips, have fun out there hunting Pokémon and remember to be safe! And if you come to the USGS hunting rock-type Pokémon, please remember that this is Federal property, so don’t be surprised if security personnel ask what you’re doing. And also, only visit between the hours of 8 AM and 8 PM.
Hopefully as you explore the world around you, you’ll keep your head up and learn to appreciate the natural world and evolve into a legendary science-type!
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