At the very top of Mount Diablo in West Texas,
there is a mining headframe visible from the highway that goes north from Van Horn, Texas.
Is it a mine? No! It is going to be the home of a 10,000-year clock!
What is a 10,000-year clock? Read about it here. It is a device to help stimulate long-term thinking, in essence. It is to aid us in evaluating the major actions we take today in terms of their potential long-term consequences. It is a very good idea.
The constructor is Swaggart Brothers and their website has some good photos with links to the organization paying for this enterprise, plus a close-up photo of the headframe that can be seen from Texas Highway 54 north of Van Horn:
One of the reasons that Swaggart brothers hint they were selected for this project is their experience moving heavy objects like trees, or equipment, up or down steep slopes to or from rather inaccessible places. This place is not accessible. It is privately owned, this mountain, and the part that is publicly owned is also closed, you need a special permit to enter it and can only do so with a Texas state escort to let you through the private properties and their gates on the way. So, no, you will not see my photos from a climb up Mount Diable although the thought crosses my mind regularly, especially when i saw a sign of a dirt road existing not far below the construction site:
Yes, that is a road to a mine, or at least a mine-claim, for a molybdenum mine, but there is still almost 2,000 feet to climb after the road ends and it is straight up. More complicated than that, the road starts from private property, ownded by the organization making this 10,000-year clock and purposely keeping it inaccessible until they are ready to unveil it. At that point in time (I will be dead by then, no doubt) they will likely have controlled tours using the 40 mile dirt road coming from the west where the slope is gentler, a road now in use by workers with keys to pass through a number of private property gates.
So just where are we at this point? Between these two views of the Guadalupe Mountains to the north taken from Texas Highway 54:
Is there anything else to see along this road? Other than the range we have been staring at? Not really, but that range, with its limestones like the Guadalupes, a purportedly billion year old sandstone component to the south, and 950-million year old volcanic and intrusive features and peaks, is interesting to look at in its own right:
A detailed geologic description of this interestingly complex range is available online (Geology of the Sierra Diablo Region Texas, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY PROFESSIONAL PAPER 480).
Our next destination on this road trip? Big Bend National Park! So we keep driving south, a long way south.