Geography and Geospatial Sciences Faculty Research and Publications

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  • ItemOpen Access
    The Mysterious Geography of The Shepherd of Guadaloupe
    (Zane Grey's West Society, 2023-11) Blake, Kevin S.
    The Shepherd of Guadaloupe was Zane Grey’s twenty-third Western romance novel. Grey wrote it in mid-1928 and it was serialized in Collier’s magazine that fall. With the publication of the book in 1930, Harper and Brothers celebrated 20 years of publishing Zane Grey and included a special anniversary band on the book. As is the case with nearly all of Grey’s romance novels, understanding the geography of the book starts with understanding Grey’s travels.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Agent-Based Model of Navigable Inland Waterway Tow Operation Procedures
    (2017-01-01) Nelson, Katherine S.; Camp, Janey V.; Philip, Craig E.; Abkowitz, Mark D.
    Transportation modeling within the context of extreme weather events induced by climate change is critical to understand and improve the resilience of transport systems as the world moves further into the 21st century. Among transportation modes, navigable inland waterways in particular face severe challenges to their future reliability as a result of extreme weather events. The economic implications of inland waterway operational efficiencies on commercial shipping have been studied in detail for several decades. Less well understood, however, are the effects of tow operation procedures enacted during adverse river conditions that have resulted from extreme weather events. This paper describes a model of a waterway segment that simulates stakeholder decision making and tow operator behavior to provide stakeholders with insights into the possible benefits of waterway action plans as operational guidance documents. Simulations run for a test area of the navigable inland waterway system indicated that operational procedures recommended in waterway action plans might have a significant impact on waterway operational efficiencies, which suggests that the model may be a useful decision-support tool for waterway stakeholders.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An integrative approach to conceptualizing sustainable resilience
    (2019-04-03) Gillespie-Marthaler, Leslie; Nelson, Katherine S.; Baroud, Hiba; Kosson, David S.; Abkowitz, Mark
    Vulnerability, resilience, and sustainability are three concepts commonly used in assessing the quality of a variety of systems. While each can be applied independently when performing risk analysis, there is growing interest across multiple disciplines in understanding how these concepts can be integrated when considering complex adaptive systems, such as communities. In this paper, we identify issues related to the use of these respective concepts in assessing complex adaptive systems, and describe how these issues may produce imbalanced results and maladaptive outcomes. We identify five critical areas where alignment and integration across concepts can lead to improved system assessment. As a result, we introduce a new paradigm, sustainable resilience, in which these concepts are integrated to enable alignment of adaptation and transformation strategies with desired resilience outcomes. This work provides the foundation for the development of an integrated assessment framework to help guide informed risk-based decisionmaking for sustainable and resilient systems.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An integrated and dynamic framework for assessing sustainable resilience in complex adaptive systems
    (2020-09-02) Nelson, Katherine S.; Gillespie-Marthaler, Leslie; Baroud, Hiba; Abkowitz, Mark; Kosson, David
    Growing awareness of climate change and resulting impacts to communities have generated increasing interest in understanding relationships between vulnerability, resilience, sustainability, and adaptive capacity, and how these concepts can be combined to better assess the quality of complex adaptive systems over time. Previous work has described interactions between these concepts and the value-added should they be integrated and applied in a strategic manner, resulting in a new understanding of system quality defined as sustainable resilience. However, a framework for explicitly integrating vulnerability, resilience, and sustainability assessment to develop understanding of system sustainable resilience has yet to be proposed. This paper presents a high-level, integrated and dynamic framework for assessing sustainable resilience for complex adaptive systems. We provide a set of functional definitions, a description of each step in the proposed assessment process, and walk through an example application of the framework, including a discussion of preliminary analyses, technical methodologies employed, and suggested future advances.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Geography of To the Last Man
    (Zane Grey's West Society, 2022-08-01) Blake, Kevin S.
    To the Last Man was Zane Grey’s first book set in Arizona’s Tonto Basin and along the section of the Mogollon Rim that he popularized as the Tonto Rim (Fig. 1). Like The Mysterious Rider, Grey’s adventures in the American West influenced how and when he was able to write To the Last Man. To get this story, Grey made three hunting trips to the Tonto Rim in the autumn of 1918, 1919, and 1920, and wrote the book between November 1920 and February 1921. When Harper and Brothers published it in 1922 it became the # 9 bestseller. 1922 was a big publication year for Grey as Harpers also published The Day of the Beast and Tales of Lonely Trails.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Translating Water Fund Payments for Ecosystem Services in the Ecuadorian Andes
    (1905-07-12) Joslin, Audrey
    As a form of environmental governance, Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is imbued with ideological values that can conflict with those of participating rural communities. The discursive frame surrounding PES may be contentious, even if the conservation activities promoted by these initiatives are not. Moving PES into practice therefore requires a process of translation from urban-based practitioners to rural communities. Drawing upon an empirical case study of FONAG, a water fund from Ecuador that is often promoted as the ideal type, this article employs data from participant observation, key informant interviews and textual materials to examine this process of translation. The article focuses particularly on the efforts to negotiate the discourse of PES that move the projects into on-the-ground practice. While Ecuador's political context has softened the emphasis on economically valuing ecosystem services, FONAG uses neoliberal conservation narratives that identify rural poverty as the main cause of environmental degradation and target the reform of local people through economic incentives. To enrol communities, however, intermediaries are needed to translate water fund PES to appeal to local perspectives, values and institutions. The author argues that contrasting narratives of PES can exist simultaneously between the entities that are implementing PES and the targets of that implementation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    On the Colorado Trail with Zane Grey and The Mysterious Rider
    (2021-11) Blake, Kevin S.
    The Mysterious Rider was published in 1921, but the origin of the story came four years earlier during Zane Grey’s 1917 trip to Colorado. Some of Grey’s most memorable writing about the joys of fishing, hunting, and travel amidst spectacular scenery came from this adventure. The “Colorado Trails” chapter of Tales of Lonely Trails (1922) is about this trip, and it is one of the favorite passages of Terry Bolinger, longtime president of Zane Grey’s West Society. Terry once remarked that those descriptions of Colorado, and Trappers Lake in particular, fueled his initial interest in Grey and caused him to attend his first Society convention.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Zane Grey and the Historic Trails of the Great Plains
    (2021-05) Blake, Kevin S.; kblake
    Zane Grey was fascinated with historic trails. Some of his most memorable books feature “trail” in the title, and his best-known epics, The U. P. Trail and Western Union, focus on historic trails. On March 20, 2021, I made a presentation to the Colorado-Cherokee Trail Chapter of the Oregon and California Trails Association about how Zane Grey’s books portray the national historic trails. This essay is a revision and expansion of that presentation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Zane Grey’s Arizona Trips,January 1906 to April 1922
    (2021-02) Blake, Kevin S.
    When the Zane Grey outfit signed into the Wetherill Trading Post register in Kayenta, Arizona on April 16, 1922, Zane Grey made an unusual notation at the top of the signatures, as seen below. In his distinctive handwriting, Grey wrote “2nd trip to Nonnezoshe, 3rd trip to Kayenta, 18th trip to Arizona.” The Zane Grey outfit was in Kayenta on their way to Nonnezoshe, or Rainbow Bridge, again guided by John Wetherill. Grey made this notation in the register based on his own travel experiences; others in his party had been to Rainbow Bridge more times than he had, and some were making their first journey. Indeed, this was his 2ndtrip to Rainbow Bridge (first in 1913), and 3rdtrip to Kayenta (first in 1913, second in 1914). What surprised me when I first saw this notation is how precise Grey was with the number of Arizona trips. I wondered why he was keeping such an exact count, and could that number be accurate? It seemed like a large number given that Grey first went to Arizona on his honeymoon in 1906. I put this speculation aside for quite a few years, but recently returned to it when I began compiling what I call a “Zane Grey Travelogue.” In my writings about the geography of Grey’s Westerns, I have al-ways been curious if and / or when he completed what I would call “fieldwork” for the book. When did he go to the book’s setting, or on which trip did he gain the inspiration for the story? The travelogue covers all of Grey’s trips, from 1906 through 1939, not only the ones that relate to his Westerns.This “Zane Grey Travelogue” is still a work-in-progress, but I have compiled quite a few detailed records, with references, of dozens of Grey’s trips. I have gleaned much of the information from biographies, literary studies, and journal articles about Grey (scholarly and popular), letters between Zane and Dolly, journals kept by Grey, newspaper articles about his travels, and Grey’s own non-fiction stories published in magazines or books. There are still many archival materials (letters, journals, photo-graphs) I need to consult, and I am in the process of re-reading the journals issued by Zane Grey’s West Society.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Lake storage variation on the endorheic Tibetan Plateau and its attribution to climate change since the new millennium
    (2018-05-30) Yao, Fangfang; Wang, Jida; Yang, Kehan; Wang, Chao; Walter, Blake A.; Crétaux, Jean-François
    Alpine lakes in the interior of Tibet, the endorheic Changtang Plateau (CP), serve as ‘sentinels’ of regional climate change. Recent studies indicated that accelerated climate change has driven a widespread area expansion in lakes across the CP, but comprehensive and accurate quantifications of their storage changes are hitherto rare. This study integrated optical imagery and digital elevation models to uncover the fine spatial details of lake water storage (LWS) changes across the CP at an annual timescale after the new millennium (from 2002–2015). Validated by hypsometric information based on long-term altimetry measurements, our estimated LWS variations outperform some existing studies with reduced estimation biases and improved spatiotemporal coverages. The net LWS increased at an average rate of 7.34 ± 0.62 Gt yr−1 (cumulatively 95.42 ± 8.06 Gt), manifested as a dramatic monotonic increase of 9.05 ± 0.65 Gt yr−1 before 2012, a deceleration and pause in 2013–2014, and then an intriguing decline after 2014. Observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites reveal that the LWS pattern is in remarkable agreement with that of regional mass changes: a net effect of precipitation minus evapotranspiration (P-ET) in endorheic basins. Despite some regional variations, P-ET explains ∼70% of the net LWS gain from 2002–2012 and the entire LWS loss after 2013. These findings clearly suggest that the water budget from net precipitation (i.e. P-ET) dominates those of glacier melt and permafrost degradation, and thus acts as the primary contributor to recent lake area/volume variations in endorheic Tibet. The produced lake areas and volume change dataset is freely available through PANAGEA ( 10.1594/PANGAEA.888706).
  • ItemUnknown
    Fire history reconstruction in grassland ecosystems: amount of charcoal reflects local area burned
    (2015-11-04) Leys, Bérangère; Brewer, Simon C.; McConaghy, Scott; Mueller, Joshua; McLauchlan, Kendra K.
    Fire is one of the most prevalent disturbances in the Earth system, and its past characteristics can be reconstructed using charcoal particles preserved in depositional environments. Although researchers know that fires produce charcoal particles, interpretation of the quantity or composition of charcoal particles in terms of fire source remains poorly understood. In this study, we used a unique four-year dataset of charcoal deposited in traps from a native tallgrass prairie in mid-North America to test which environmental factors were linked to charcoal measurements on three spatial scales. We investigated small and large charcoal particles commonly used as a proxy of fire activity at different spatial scales, and charcoal morphotypes representing different types of fuel. We found that small (125–250 μ m) and large (250 μ m–1 mm) particles of charcoal are well-correlated (Spearman correlation = 0.88) and likely reflect the same spatial scale of fire activity in a system with both herbaceous and woody fuels. There was no significant relationship between charcoal pieces and fire parameters <500 m from the traps. Moreover, local area burned (<5 km distance radius from traps) explained the total charcoal amount, and regional burning (200 km radius distance from traps) explained the ratio of non arboreal to total charcoal (NA/ T ratio). Charcoal variables, including total charcoal count and NA/ T ratio, did not correlate with other fire parameters, vegetation cover, landscape, or climate variables. Thus, in long-term studies that involve fire history reconstructions, total charcoal particles, even of a small size (125–250 μ m), could be an indicator of local area burned. Further studies may determine relationships among amount of charcoal recorded, fire intensity, vegetation cover, and climatic parameters.
  • ItemUnknown
    The Geography of The U. P. Trail
    (2018-02-01) Blake, Kevin S.; kblake
    Zane Grey's epic romance about the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad was published in 1918 to mixed reviews. While it rated the top selling book of the year, one critic said it was bogged down in the "outworn machinery of movie romance" with "preposterous" adventures "strung together so mechanically upon so obvious a thread" (Boynton, 191"8, p.179). To most Zane Grey fans, though, this is one of his best books. Dr. Joe Wheeler wrote: "The U. P. Trail is generally considered to be one of the finest Westerns ever written; it is probably Grey's most successful epic. lt would be difficult to capture more effectively the spirit of the great Union Pacific project . . ." (1975, p. 165). Dr. Carlton Jackson not only saw the public reception of The U. P. Trailas a great success for Grey, but also as a turning point in his life: "Before !918, Grey had regarded his western novels and short stories as 'stepping stones to a higher plane of literature.'. . . The success of The U. P. Trail, however, led to his decision to stay solely in westerns and adventure stories . . ." (1989, p. 54). Dr. Arthur Kimball had a higher opinion of the book's romance than the critic mentioned above and called the heroine, Allie Lee, Grey's champion of "love's transcendent power" (1993, p. 99). The book also gained praise from a civil engineer who said Grey "wrote the truth . . . " (Doty, 1930, p. 52).
  • ItemUnknown
    The Geography of Wildfire
    (2017-08-01) Blake, Kevin S.; kblake; Blake, Kevin S.
    The geography of Wildfire (1917) is among the most significant in all of Zane Grey's western romances. lt weaves together four places that shaped Grey's vision of the West more than any other prior to 1917: Lees Ferry (Grey's fictional name is Bostil's Ford), the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Wild Horse Mesa. Most importantly, this is the book that launched Monument Valley to worldwide fame and thus greatly shaped the image of the American West (Blake, 1995; Harvey, 2O11).
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    Reconstructing grassland fire history using sedimentary charcoal: Considering count, size and shape
    (2017-04-27) Leys, B. A.; Commerford, J. L.; McLauchlan, Kendra K.; mclauch; McLauchlan, Kendra K.
    Fire is a key Earth system process, with 80% of annual fire activity taking place in grassland areas. However, past fire regimes in grassland systems have been difficult to quantify due to challenges in interpreting the charcoal signal in depositional environments. To improve reconstructions of grassland fire regimes, it is essential to assess two key traits: (1) charcoal count, and (2) charcoal shape. In this study, we quantified the number of charcoal pieces in 51 sediment samples of ponds in the Great Plains and tested its relevance as a proxy for the fire regime by examining 13 potential factors influencing charcoal count, including various fire regime components (e.g. the fire frequency, the area burned, and the fire season), vegetation cover and pollen assemblages, and climate variables. We also quantified the width to length (W: L) ratio of charcoal particles, to assess its utility as a proxy of fuel types in grassland environments by direct comparison with vegetation cover and pollen assemblages. Our first conclusion is that charcoal particles produced by grassland fires are smaller than those produced by forest fires. Thus, a mesh size of 120 mu m as used in forested environments is too large for grassland ecosystems. We recommend counting all charcoal particles over 60 mu m in grasslands and mixed grass-forest environments to increase the number of samples with useful data. Second, a W: L ratio of 0.5 or smaller appears to be an indicator for fuel types, when vegetation surrounding the site is before composed of at least 40% grassland vegetation. Third, the area burned within 1060m of the depositional environments explained both the count and the area of charcoal particles. Therefore, changes in charcoal count or charcoal area through time indicate a change in area burned. The fire regimes of grassland systems, including both human and climatic influences on fire behavior, can be characterized by long-term charcoal records.
  • ItemUnknown
    The Geography of Zane Grey's Western Union
    (2013-05-01) Blake, Kevin S.; kblake; Blake, Kevin S.
    The geography of Zane Grey's Western Union is one of the more straightforward among his oeuvre, with great faithfulness to place names, distances, directions, and landmarks. That is not to say, however, that this geography is without compelling intrigue. Indeed, through this western romance set along the telegraph route in the summer and fall of 186 1, the reader also learns much abo ut the Oregon Trail and the cultural and natural landscape of the Great Plains of western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming. Westbound travelers today following Interstate 80 and U.S. 26 can savor many of the same sights that Grey describes with his characteristic verve and accuracy.
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    The Geography of The Light of Western Stars
    (2014-12-01) Blake, Kevin S.; kblake; Blake, Kevin S.
    The Light of Western Stars has a fascinating geography. Set during the Mexican Revolution on the western flank of the Peloncillo Mountains in New Mexico's "Booth eel" region, astride the state line with Arizona, this region is perhaps as wild and remote today as it was when Zane Grey authored the story one hundred years ago. Zane Grey's setting features many authentic place names- almost every town, valley, and mountain mentioned is accurately located in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona- but two confounding fictional town names require some geographical imagination.
  • ItemUnknown
    The Geography of The Border Legion
    (2016-11-01) Blake, Kevin S.; kblake; Blake, Kevin S.
    The Border Legion has a curious geography. Dr. Joe Wheeler states this book features "very little description of the topography or nature phenomena" (1975, p. 163), and he is right on target with this assessment. He goes on to note that "most Zane Grey biographers have claimed this one represents one of the few times in his life when he didn't research his terrain for the setting." Wheeler says he "once concurred" but now is "not so sure" because Grey could have studied the setting for the book on a 1915 cross-country trip to San Francisco.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Geography of The Rainbow Trail
    (2015-11-01) Blake, Kevin S.; kblake; Blake, Kevin S.
    Some of Zane Grey's most memorable and stirring geographic descriptions are featured in the pages of The Rainbow Trail. The passages devoted to Red Lake Trading Post, Navajo Mountain, and the Tsegi (spelled Sagi in this book) capture the character of the landscape exceedingly well. I argue, however, that Grey's evocation of the overland route on the north side of Navajo Mountain to the Rainbow Bridge-the eponymous "Rainbow Trail"- is unsurpassed in its accuracy and exceptional liter31Y style. Prior to reaching this point in the book, Grey weaves together a geography of real places, such as Kayenta, with mythical places, such as Stonebridge and the village of sealed Mormon wives.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Geography of The Lone Star Ranger
    (2015-11-01) Blake, Kevin S.; kblake; Blake, Kevin S.
    This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of the first publication by Harper & Brothers of The Lone Star Ranger, featuring one of Zane Grey's best-known gunmen (Buck Duane) and one of his most memorable titles (Figure 1). This book was, however, never written in this format by Grey! It was a shotgun marriage of sorts, cobbled together by Harpers from two other books that Grey did actually write: Last of the Duanes (written in 1913 but not published until 1996) and Rangers of the Lone Star (written and serialized in 1914 as The Lone Star Ranger but not published as a book until 1997).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Zane Grey, Wild Horse Mesa, and the Kaiparowits Plateau
    (2017-05-01) Blake, Kevin S.; kblake; Blake, Kevin S.
    Zane Grey was obsessed with climbing Wild Horse Mesa in southern Utah from the mo-ment he first saw its imposing Straight Cliffs from the Glass Mountains in 1913. He described the sight on his first expedition to Rainbow Bridge: “One striking landmark seemed to dominate the scene – Wild Horse Mesa – a stupendous red-walled mountain, frowning, black-fringed and isolated. Insurmounta-ble as it seemed I vowed to climb it some day” (“Trails Over the Glass Mountains,” 1924).