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Wednesday March 16th: More Earth Sciences

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<– Day 7- Tuesday March 15th: Rollin’ Like Bill Gates | Beginning | Day 9 – Thursday March 17th: Crowded Backroads & Exploding Beer Glasses –>


Behind Ann and inside that building is a rainforest!

Today we drove from Tucson to Globe. Along the way we saw some old technology and new. First the new, then the old. (See yesterday’s post here)

We started the day with a short walk to a nearby bagel place called The Bagel Joint in north Tucson. It’s slogan, if it ain’t boiled, it ain’t a bagel. Tucson yelpers seemed to like the place, so I thought it was worth checking out. While they were very good bagels, they still didn’t top the bagel I had at the Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shop in December of 2014. My mouth still waters in memory of that one!


With bagel consumed, we drove north for the day’s main adventure: Biosphere 2.


On our drive to Biosphere 2, we realized neither of us could remember much about the project. Our impression was that it was a failure at some level. We also wondered what happened to Biosphere 1. So, it was with this total lack of research that we entered the Biosphere 2 complex.


This is an overview of the complex.


I guess they are preparing us for seeing the future?? Is biosphere 2 the future? The biosphere folks have the marketing machine in motion. I’m just not sure what they were thinking.

After paying for our one hour tour, we had about thirty minutes to kill before it began. Fortunately, they have a number of exhibits to educate and entertain. The first thing we learned was that there was no Biosphere 1. Instead, Biosphere 1 was the earth. Huh? Apparently, Biosphere 2 was meant to model the earth. Okay, so why not call it just the Biosphere or even Earth 2? I couldn’t say, but we weren’t the only ones pondering this issue. We overheard others wondering about it, too.

As we looked over the exhibits we learned the complex was completed in 1991 to great fanfare, then four women and four men entered it for a two-year, closed mission, where the participants would be entirely self dependent, as if they were living on Mars. Things didn’t quite work out as planned, but that’s too long of a tale to cover here. I will say that the root of the project began with a metallurgist of all people (and no, my family had nothing to do with it … thankfully)! This Discover article, which we read following our tour, was most helpful and more comprehensive than our tour guide.

Pretty soon, we were ready to start our tour, so we made the long walk down the steps toward the Biosphere’s entry doors. Along the way we took photos of the exterior.

2016-03-16-biosphere4-DSC_7669 2016-03-16-biosphere-5-DSC_7677

Just like the eight people in 1991, I waved to the journalists as I entered the facility (okay, there was only Ann when I went inside).


Here I am, almost ready to enter a new world! Just call me Mr. Columbus.

The Biosphere complex was built to support several biomes, or climates, such as rain forest, ocean, and desert environments. These days instead of supporting humans, the place has been altered into a research facility where scientists can test out changes to different environments. In that capacity, the biosphere has been considered a success (based on what we’ve learned so far).


This large looking pool is actually the simulated ocean, with a wave machine, fish, and more.


Looking the other direction.

We got no good photos of the rainforest, because it was difficult to shoot. However, the desert was much easier.


We walked down the ‘desert’ stairs. The light and the pace of the tour made it difficult for me to get a good photo.


Looking back up the stairs proved to be a better photo.

The tour then took us to the underbelly of the project, which demonstrated what it took to operate the facility. It’s an impressive complex and we’d go on another tour again.

From the Biosphere, we headed north for Hayden Arizona. Along the way we spotted a park with some unusual sculptures celebrating the importance of mining to a small town ironically called Mammoth.






We left Mammoth and soon arrived at the mining town of Hayden. Here’s where we saw the ‘old technology’ I mentioned earlier. Our reason for stopping here was a that my great grandfather directed the rebuilding of the Hayden Smelter in 1911.


The building looked like it was built in 1911. The complex is still owned by ASARCO.

At some point Hayden was a proper town with stores and a theatre, but these days it’s pretty near a ghost town, despite the fact the smelter is still in operation. At least the police station looked good. The rest of the buildings on this street were closed.


We have more pics of the town, but my computer is being a butthead tonight. So, I’m only sharing this one.

Finally, as we were leaving a town near Hayden called Winkleman, we spotted this unusual sculpture showing copper coins falling from an ore care. As we learned yesterday, it’s not so easy to turn copper ore into copper coins.

2016-03-16-winkleman-park-DSC_7728Tonight we stay in Globe. Tomorrow we head to Phoenix for most of the day, then return back to Globe for the evening.

<– Day 7- Tuesday March 15th: Rollin’ Like Bill Gates | Beginning | Day 9 – Thursday March 17th: Crowded Backroads & Exploding Beer Glasses –>


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