Mossbottom Pothole – Field Notes

Field Notes:

2nd Location at Dry Falls: Mossbottom Pothole

Pothole off of Jeep Trail

Approximately ¼ of a mile east of Deep Lake dock

October 13th, 2012



Overcast, slight rain

Cold, breezy


Bird calls, near and distant


Small birds chirping inside the pothole

The flapping of a crow (or raven)’s wings very clear

Geese in distance from Deep Lake

Even bugs audible

Movements of team members, any speaking among them very clear

Highway 17 still slightly audible


< 75 feet diameter

75 feet deep


As throughout entire Dry Falls location, there are dry grass clusters and sage brush covering the outside land around the potholes

Semi-perminent talus makes up the hole’s walls, covered by moss and lichen

Lots of dead grass, mostly dry and yellow

The bottom is more or less flat and its area is about half of the total area of the pothole – the other half is rocky slopes.  These slopes consist of first ledges, then piles, and finally slopes of fist to head-sized rocks of basalt.  The rocks here are even more crumbly than at the Dry Falls Lake location and large piles of sediment and dormant lichens and mosses have collected everywhere.

There is a significant amount of broken rock making up the ground around the potholes which suggests activity, cavitation-related?

Observations on soil:

Firm to ground or all clumped together

From a medium shade of brown to a dark brown


Power lines visible in distance

Jeep trail, the trail we came on

Other Notes:

We are all sitting at the edge of the pothole facing it

A Redtailed Hawk flew out of the neighboring pothole

Concentration of Life within: bird activity within, plant-life within

Lots of deer scat and deer trails around

Signs of recent rainfall

Mostly reddish-brown, some gray rocks

No concrete evidence of what caused the cavitation tornado (perhaps disapeared over time)

Does not currently contain any water at the bottom, but does hold moisture

Unable to see the bottom because of the density of plant life

The vast open space of the general area lends to an awareness of what’s to come, a safe place for wildlife?

Cliff faces feel like walls of a place

Higher elevation (than camp and Dry falls lake)

Cliff faces seem to have more talus, potholes themselves have lots of talus. (Rocklayer less stable at higher elevation?)

Rocks are not smooth

Pothole is very circular

Trees are deciduous, small leaves, more shrublike, as if stunted

The trees must rely on the precious water and shelter this natural feature provides to grow at all in this region.  The only other place trees can survive in this region is directly adjacent to a substantial water source such as a lake or creek.

The trees are about twenty to thirty feet in height and are made up of thin, branched trunks with many, many branches waving and shooting up in wiry spires.  At this point in the season about half of the year’s leaves have fallen to the ground while the other half remain in the trees.  They are a variety of green, orange, yellow, and red.  Some of the bushes and trees have small berries all black and dark purple and shriveled up, but are gone, either eaten by the birds or fallen to the ground.

Many fallen leaves concentrated on the pothole floor, and vibrant moss

Most plants fall into the tan, light golden, or yellow shades of this arid region

The silence and therefor volume of any action makes this a very dramatic place, by contrast

There are many of bushes and shrubs at the bottom of the pothole.  Their colors range from deep, burnt orange to pale, guacamole green.

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