Who are you going to believe? The geologist or the professional pageant contestant?

I’m from the Pacific Northwest, and I am horribly biased — it’s the most beautiful place on the planet. So I quite like Dana Hunter’s tour of the geology of a subduction zone. It’s a perspective with which I’m unfamiliar, focused as I usually am on complex shorelines and soothing rain showers and slugs and salmon.

And then I learn that the recently crowned Miss Seattle, a carpetbagger from Arizona, hates the place.

Ew, I’m seriously hating seattle right now Take me back to az! Ugh can’t stand cold rainy Seattle and the annoying people.

I say run her out of town on a rail and hand the tiara over to Dana.


  1. magic pants says

    Let’s put all the tiaras in a pile at the bottom of the ocean and see what kind of chert we end up with in a hundred million years.

  2. says

    I’ve lived in the northwest (Oregon) since 1965, and one thing I’ve always found fascinating: we have the most wonderful variety of terrains and conditions you could ask for. Often within an hour’s drive of each other.
    We have beaches, we have mountains, we have lush, fertile valleys, we have a rain forest…and yes, even a desert.
    We just don’t live in the desert. Turns out, there isn’t any freaking water there.
    And to top it off, every so often some bit our beautiful scenery blows up.
    I love this place.

  3. Eric R says

    Frankly, I believe them both. One is a fascinating scientific exploration of the local geology, the other is a personal opinion about how much a “zonie” doesnt like rain and cooler temps.

    I disagree with Miss Seattle’s opinion and wonder how she managed to get the title.

  4. shouldbeworking says

    I love Dana’s writing on geology. But what the frak do I know? I’m only a Canadian science teacher with a B.Sc. In geology so I guess I’m just horribly biased. Typical of us science types, always looking at the universe.

  5. fastlane says

    I’m an Az native, and a desert ratt at heart. I love the desert, especially in the springtime. I’ve recently (about a year now) transplanted to the Pacific Northwet and there’s a lot to like about the area. I’m pretty happy here and think I will be for quite a few years.

    I still love the desert though, and I don’t think you can compare ‘the people’ of Seattle to Phoenix. There is such a large, diverse population in both metro regions, that there’s no such thing as ‘the people’ in either area.

    I do wish it were warmer here, and I really miss the desert during the winter months, but there’s plenty to make up for it, at least for me.

    Now Kansas….that place was a shithole. =)

  6. unclefrogy says

    The killer quote,”And with that warping came the mountains. They were born a mere five million years ago, and they’re still growing.”

    I do not want to read, I want to walk there too and hold the rocks in my hands!

    uncle frogy

  7. says

    and the annoying people

    In all fairness, remember that the DI and several of its “luminaries” are in Seattle. If she’s unlucky enough to deal with them on a regular basis, how else could Ahn react?

    Glen Davidson

  8. catnip67 says


    New take on the old chinese curse:

    May you live in interesting places :-)

  9. cowalker says

    My son was brought up in southeastern Ohio, but chose to go to Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington. He came back to Ohio for one year but couldn’t wait to get back to Washington, and is now in Seattle, enjoying its mild climate and beautiful shore. But he can’t find work. :(

  10. chrislawson says

    Actually, I live on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, and it’s the most beautiful place on the planet, (much like all the other most beautiful places).

  11. timberwoof says

    Dana Hunter quite personably invited her biologist friends to come along for the tour and PZMyers confirmed that it is an interesting area for them. Alongside Miss Az’s presentation—a loathsome “gog me with a spewn” attitude that sets completely the wrong tone—I’d select Dana Hunter’s assessment as the true one.

    (The snark was aimed purely at Miss Spewn, I assure you.)

    BTW, if you do a Google Images search for Pressure Zone Microphones, you eventually find an image of PZMyers.

  12. jimmiraybob says

    Well, speaking of ophiolites and AZ, I just wanted to give a shout out on behalf of the Payson Ophiolite northwest of PHX. Good times.

  13. Trebuchet says


    We have a Miss Seattle?

    Used to race in the Gold Cup, as I recall, but hasn’t been around for quite a few years!

  14. catnip67 says


    New take on the old unattributable curse:
    May you live in interesting places :-)

    Thanks for the pointer, Pelamun

  15. Callinectes says

    If she hates “cold rainy Seattle” then she’ll love Britain.

    Ditto the annoying people.

  16. Phledge says

    Pelamun, thank you for politely pointing out problematic language; catnip, thank YOU for graciously accepting hir recommendation. I’ve seen so much arguing about shitte like this that it’s refreshing to see it being done right!

  17. Phledge says

    PS–total desert ratte here but I think I could handle living in the PNW again if I had a job and community there.

  18. Rip Steakface says

    My son was brought up in southeastern Ohio, but chose to go to Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington.

    Hey, I was born there and have lived there since!

    I have a slight love-hate relationship with the Pacific Northwest. There is tons of cool stuff out here, yes, but I don’t like rain or cool weather. For weather, I prefer the Bay Area for the most part – sure, it’s cloudy a lot, but it typically stays above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

    That said, it’s awesome for things like music and, in western Washington, finding people with sane politics and lack of religion. IIRC, WA is second only to Colorado in proportion of nonreligious population, and that’s with the DI here.

  19. spamamander, hellmart survivor says

    -looks outside-

    Funny, I’m here in WA and all I see is a bunch of sagebrush. And dirt. And apple trees.

  20. rabbitbrush says

    Huh. Just keep driving east and you’ll see another great geological story: Remnants of the Ice Age Floods that burst out of the ice dams at the mouth of the Clark Fork River. Unimaginably huge floods that scoured out central Warshington. That carried our rich topsoils to the Willamette Valley. (You’re welcome.) And into the Pacific Ocean.

  21. tealviolence says

    I was responding on another blog and a question came to mind.

    Ah, Hebgen Lake, I guess I was the brain in my family or whatever. This book on the Yellowstone (jellystone!?) earthquake was thrown at me to shut me up I guess. But, I just ate this stuff up.

    Anything related to time geology, biology, history was cool. I couldn’t get enough. I remember a book I first read in the second/third grade that really gave the idea of 4.5 billion years in a theater way of grasping the time involved.

    I wish I could remember its name as it may have been simplistic but to this 8 year old it was everything. Time geology and biology wrapped into one. This got me enthused about science and up to junior hi I would check it out. To this day, I am continually blinded by science.

    So, yeah slightly off topic, but traveling through dry falls and other fun parts of the remnants of glacial Lake Missuola, what was that book?

  22. ikesolem says

    Hey, that was really good! One of my favorite books is John McPhee’s 4-part epic, Annals of the Former World – but he did mostly leave out the Pacific Northwest (which seems to be fairly similar to the features described in the Assembling California section, though).

  23. chris says

    That was wonderful.

    I am an Army brat, my dad grew up in Yakima, WA, which is the part of Washington we visited. My identity was as a Washington native who grew up all over the place (including South and Central America) with an Eastern Washington viewpoint. Which included visiting relatives from Yakima to Goose Prairie (my brother learned to water ski on Bumping Lake).

    I had no idea why it was called the “Evergreen State.”

    I applied to the University of Washington when my dad was stationed in Ft. Hood, TX as a legal resident of Washington. After I graduated from high school my dad moved to Arizona to retire and I went to Seattle.

    Then I finally learned why this is the “Evergreen State.” I honestly did not know one could live where the cloud cover could literally last for weeks. But I got used to it, and actually quicker than my one year in Minnesota and its many months of white, white and more ice. At least there are blooming flowers in mid-winter Seattle! And when the sun comes out, and you can see the mountain, it is glorious. I spent this sunny day pruning and fertilizing roses.

    And as I was weeding I noticed a rock in the rockery with large quartz crystals. Cool!

    I also vote for Dana to be Ms. Seattle. The geology and topology of this area is very interesting. Even though I had to explain to a car insurance guy in Texas that even though Magnolia or downtown Seattle is “crow fly” closer, a body repair shop in Lake City is much easier to get to from my Bryant/Ravenna neighborhood (straight up 35th Ave. NE, a quick left turn, get on Lake City Way and just past Fred Meyer). I actually explained to him that our hills go north and south, which makes traveling up and down hills east to west more interesting, and longer.

    (Um, yeah, I hit a car pulling out of a parallel parking spot on N. 45th St. in Wallingford in the dark. I’ll stick to N. 50th from now on.)

  24. birgerjohansson says

    Rabbitbrush: Yes, the scablands. Each flooding event lasted just hours (the ice dam built up several times during the glaciation).

    One thing I do not know is if the visible scablands are just from the last flooding, while the previous ones of the last glaciation (and previous glaciations) are buried under sediment.
    — — — — — —
    There are places near the coast that are in relative rain shadow. For instance there is an island where astronomy professor John S. Lewis retired that does not suffer so much rainfall.

  25. esmith4102 says

    As a chronic peripatetic, I’ve never been anywhere I couldn’t find, at least, some beauty in, with the exception, of course, Biloxi, Mississippi. From the rainforests of the Olympic Pennensula to the Sonoran Desert – WOW! Australia & New Zealand are next on my list.

  26. says

    I can attest that there are parts of AZ that are quite lovely.

    Most of ’em, in the hot season, tho’, I can’t even go near without actually catching fire.

    (No, not a vampire or nothin’. Just not real good with heat… also, as it seems to me like half of the state was on fire last summer, probably it doesn’t even matter how good I am with heat.)

    … also, AZ’s political culture scares the crap out of me. Sure, there’s nuts everywhere. But in AZ, seems to me, trouble is, they’re running the asylum. Visiting the place, which I’m afraid I have to do, on occasion, for work, kinda makes me nervous. Should I be carrying my papers? I mean, I know I’m not brown or nothin’ (normally kinda pale or burnt red, if I’m so stupid as to go near the desert… or mebbe charcoal black, after catching fire, as mentioned), so probably in de facto terms I don’t have to worry, but still, nothing sez ‘Welcome to our fair state’ quite like charming measures like that one.

    Also, in my ever so humble opinion, any place with mountains w/ snow on ’em has any place that doesn’t have those beat.

    So WA wins, I suspect (I’ve never technically been there). And by a fair bit.

  27. FilthyHuman says

    Um… in what way was complaining that she doesn’t/didn’t like the weather in Seattle trolling?

  28. KillJoy says

    As a guy who spent the first 27 years of his life in New Mexico and Arizona,and then moved to Seattle to escape the sun, Ms. Seattle can take her complainy self back to AZ. I love me my Seattle. Can I say that again? LOVE. THIS. TOWN. Looking out my office window at a view of the space needle,and fat, gorgeous, purple and grey clouds right now.Queen Anne in the distance. Mmmmm. Home.


    P.S. Love this town! XD

  29. KillJoy says

    And now anybody familar with Seattle has a pretty good idea of where I work. At least you probably have figgered out its downtown, and in a big building. :P