Playa Conditions for 2015

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trilobyte
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Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by trilobyte » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:17 pm

I'll kick off the thread about predictions, estimates, and best guesses about weather conditions for Burning Man 2015 by sharing a few great shots of what the playa looks like currently.

First, to help correct those who make the mistake of describing Burning Man as being held on an ancient lake bed... behold, Lake Lahontan!

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The above pictures were taken last week. Sure, Lake Lahontan is from the Pleistocene era so it is ancient, and it peaked more than 12,000 years ago, but it's not gone. These days it's a seasonal lake. Because of drought in recent years it hasn't been seen much, for us it's a welcome site (the moisture plus the weight of all that water will help give us better playa conditions at the end of August).

Here are a couple more beautiful shots taken earlier this week. A big storm hitting the west coast will hopefully also deliver a few more inches of rain later in the week.

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Big thanks to Taz at the Burning Man Gerlach office for taking and sharing these pics.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by tamarakay » Wed Dec 10, 2014 2:26 pm

Thanks trilo and taz! Great pictures.
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by GreyCoyote » Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:47 pm

Somewhere I seem to recall that the surface of the lake is only down about 10 feet from the playa surface by the time TTITD roles around. Maybe Rhino can chime in here and opine.

It just seems funny to me to be in the middle of the desert with all that water under foot but so effectively out of reach.

Predictions: it will be hot. Cold. Windy. Dusty. Dark. Light. :mrgreen:
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Meat Hunter » Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:45 pm

I used 18" x 1/2" lag bolts on the Playa this year.

When they were about 2/3 in, it felt like I hit concrete and my 1/2" drill had a hard time drilling the remainder of the bolt down to surface level.

When I removed the bolts, the last 1/3 of the bolt was dark brown and the dirt appeared to be moist.
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:17 pm

A veteran burner friend once told me the story of how way back at the turn of the century (1999? 2000?) He and his friends brought a 30 foot tall oak tree to the burn. Dug up from somewhere roots and all and then transplanted into the playa. Yeah, they got in trouble for sure, but the relevant part is that he said they had to dig down like 6 feet deep into the playa for all the roots and by the time the hole was big enough they were up their waste in water when standing in the bottom of the hole.

I do not know if this actually happened...

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Molotov » Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:59 am

So if somebody was ambitious and stealthy enough to sink a 3" pipe into the playa about 15', is there potable water to be found? Would it be of sufficient quantity and quality to justify the effort to pump it up and store it? Or is it just old nasty alkali water that will give you the shits?

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Sham » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:05 am

First, you can't dig a hole in the playa that 3 inches in diameter. It's just not allowed. Second, you probably won't ever hit fresh, clean drinking water---just a salty sludge. Third, you are just there for a week, why would you want to put that much effort into something like that. Just bring a few 50 gallon barrels.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Ratty » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:21 am

Ha, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha.ha,ha,ha.ha,ha,ha.
Third, you are just there for a week, why would you want to put that much effort into something like that.
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Molotov » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:25 am

Ah, but the infrastructure folks are there for much longer than a week, and anything to reduce the need for trucked in water could help. It was just an idea, and thanks for the feedback.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:37 am

Having done many shallow wells here in Texas for irrigation and dewatering, i dont think the water you would get would be worth anything. Too many minerals and salts
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by SnowBlind » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:59 am

TexasRick wrote:Ah, but the infrastructure folks are there for much longer than a week, and anything to reduce the need for trucked in water could help.
They don't have a well on the playa, but if I recall correctly they built a well at the Ranch a few years ago. That's when DPW stopped taking water donations at the end of the week.

So it's not like they are trucking it in from very far away.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by maladroit » Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:51 pm

Playa condition prediction: flat and dusty.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by BeeWeeDee » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:32 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:Having done many shallow wells here in Texas for irrigation and dewatering, i dont think the water you would get would be worth anything. Too many minerals and salts
Might be good for watering the streets and keeping the dust down. Less trucking, more frequent.... etc.
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Molotov » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:01 pm

On second thought, if they did drill a well for the nasty water, BLM would find another fee to charge the BORG.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by lucky420 » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:05 pm

As far as drilling goes,let's just leave the playa alone.
We fuck it up enough as it is...
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by vargaso » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:16 pm

lucky420 wrote:As far as drilling goes,let's just leave the playa alone.
We fuck it up enough as it is...
I love the Leave No Trace ethic and practice that BRC somehow manages every year. But, I'm genuinely asking, how do we fuck up the playa? The tire tracks? I'm not sure of the wildlife situation out there, is there any? From what I can tell, air pollution is the worst thing we do to that area, but the physical playa itself, I don't know.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:45 pm

As far as wildlife there's some sort of microscopic brine shrimp out there that stays dried up and becomes active when the lake returns. Some other microbes as well I've heard...

Rumor has it that the 'dunes' out there weren't there until years after burners showed up and started kicking up the dust. There is/was reported outrage from the community of guys who race wheeled sailboats across flat surfaces as they had to abandon the playa cause the burners came and fucked it all up.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Just_Joe » Sat Dec 13, 2014 5:20 pm

A-RockLeFrench wrote:
Rumor has it that the 'dunes' out there .....
Interesting stuff.....

Dunes:
https://sites.google.com/site/blackrockdunes/

Aquatic life:
http://spatial-ed.com/images/documents/ ... 4MAY10.pdf

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Ano » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:55 am

News from the Playa - it snowed over the weekend, rumor has it! No pictures yet... but... it snowed! Snow on the playa! Here's to hoping for more and more snow... and a nice hard-pack of playa... :D

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:26 pm

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by GreyCoyote » Mon Dec 15, 2014 2:38 pm

A-RockLeFrench wrote: There is/was reported outrage from the community of guys who race wheeled sailboats across flat surfaces...
I read that and immediately thought of our very own Capt Goddammit bump-drafting La Contessa down the 5 o'clock radial. :mrgreen: Then I realized what you were really referencing. 8)

Neat visual anyway!
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by danibel » Mon May 04, 2015 10:44 am

Any update or rumors about the playa as of today? Has there been rain/snow? Inquiring minds wanna know!
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by fernley1 » Mon May 04, 2015 7:10 pm

Mostly dry as of last weekend.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Thecatman » Sun May 24, 2015 10:03 pm

It has been raining the last few weeks here in northern Nevada. Almost daily, I don't know what it's been doing in Gerlach and on the playa and I haven't been to the playa since last year. June.
Maybe some who attended the rendezvous this year will chime in.
Since I'm on three day weekends, maybe I'll drive up one Saturday, Sunday or Monday morning and have breakfast at Brunos.
trilobite wrote: behold, Lake Lahontan!
Nice pictures, especially the ones with the snow.
There really is a modern day Lake Lahontan west of Fallon. It's used for irrigation. Nothing but a mud hole now due to the drought.
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Just_Joe » Mon May 25, 2015 6:01 pm

Trip Report.....Memorial Day
There was standing water on much of playa. Three mile entrance was underwater when we came through on Friday. As of today, the north south roads (tracks/ruts) on either edge of the playa were full of water and there was ponding (though much less than Friday) in many locations. This was a good week plus rain event that will hopefully compact and harden the playa for some good summer recreation.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by DrYes » Mon May 25, 2015 6:11 pm

Just_Joe wrote:Trip Report.....Memorial Day
There was standing water on much of playa. Three mile entrance was underwater when we came through on Friday. As of today, the north south roads (tracks/ruts) on either edge of the playa were full of water and there was ponding (though much less than Friday) in many locations. This was a good week plus rain event that will hopefully compact and harden the playa for some good summer recreation.
You take any pictures, by any chance?

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by zerzura » Mon May 25, 2015 9:56 pm

Just_Joe wrote:Trip Report.....Memorial Day
There was standing water on much of playa. Three mile entrance was underwater when we came through on Friday. As of today, the north south roads (tracks/ruts) on either edge of the playa were full of water and there was ponding (though much less than Friday) in many locations. This was a good week plus rain event that will hopefully compact and harden the playa for some good summer recreation.
Hooray!

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by Token » Tue May 26, 2015 12:55 pm

FWIW, the freeze-thaw cycles impact compaction allot more than any spring/summer rain events.

Freeze-thaw compacts the clay while expelling silt and sand to the surface.

A late rain with no freeze just re-flows the silt/sand and causes that lovely corn-chip crumble type geometry to become more pronounced.

In the long run, the late rains actually add to the dust once we trample the place.

Its counter intuitive but has been studied before by limnologists.

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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by FIGJAM » Tue May 26, 2015 2:28 pm

The study of limbs??? :?
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Re: Playa Conditions for 2015

Post by trilobyte » Tue May 26, 2015 2:49 pm

+1 to what Token said. On the upside, if we're lucky the playa might develop a nice crust that'll keep things (relatively) dust free until we can at least get our camps set up, and maybe even have an easier time pedaling way out into deep playa.

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