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  • Writer's pictureDale Hill

Scripps Institution of Oceanography SMASH

Recovery Date: September 11, 2021 Total Marks Recovered: 13

Confirmed Lost/Destroyed: 1

Discs Recovered: 7

Non-Disc Type Recovered: 5

Notes: New Non-Disc Type, "F" Flange-Encased Rod

My game plan for today was to re-visit Scripps Institution of Oceanography and search for survey marks that were not on my radar when I was first here on February 2, 2021, my first Survey MArk Scavenger Hunt (SMASH) in La Jolla. I had new information about an old mark that I found and more information on additional survey marks not previously listed.

PB 0551 A (PID: DC1298)

Gone, but not forgotten! Unsurprisingly, this survey mark had been removed since it was last reported on in 1977; these unique hexagon-shaped markers attract attention and are a special type: DG - Gravity Station. I have found a few of them, and they rank up there with some of my favorites. To learn more about Gravity Stations, and see my first recoveries of this type, check out my article Joshua Tree SMASH.

Today I would have to be satisfied with a confirmed kill, a.k.a. obvious proof the mark was destroyed. 😞

BTW, this is located just a few feet from a previous recovery I made in February, L 895 (PID: DC0982). At the time, this one was considered a "Drive-By" Recovery, and I had no idea that PB 0551 A was (supposed to be) nearby. Here is a repost of those images to show how close I was without realizing it! 😂

941 0230 U TIDAL (PID: DR6848)

This was another unexpected find; up to this point, all of the Tidal Benchmarks I have found have been National Ocean Service or National Ocean Survey discs. This was the first Flange-Encased Rod (Type: F) Tidal marker I've recovered.

It was easy to locate near the parking lot given the witness stake nearby 😉

BOCK RM 1 (PID: DR6853)

The big surprise of the day!

BOCK RM 1 as I originally found it on February 2, 2021

During my first visit, I found this reference mark mounted on a retaining wall on Naga Lane; it was a true Drive-By Recovery, as it wasn't on my map, and I just happened to see it out of the corner of my eye while looking for a place to park. I looked around the area for a station disc but couldn’t find one. When I originally entered it into my database, it did not have a Permanent ID number (PID) in the National Geodetic Survey database.

In the article Buried Treasure and More! I called this one my "Mystery Mark" of the day. It was the first disc I'd found from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and I spent a lot of time trying to find out more about the mark to no avail.

While preparing for yesterday’s SIO SMASH, I used the NGS Data Explorer online map and noticed that the BOCK RM 1 was now listed, as were the BOCK Station and BOCK RM 2, all with individual PIDs assigned!

Following the link to the new datasheet for RM 1, it was listed as being monumented on January 14, 2021, by a surveyor from Johnson-Frank & Associates (JOHFRA), a Land Surveying firm based in Anaheim, CA. Judging by the condition of the disc, I don't believe it was established in January; rather, it was the date that JOHFRA documented it and submitted it to the NGS.

Sometime between when I first recovered this mark on February 2, 2021, and September 11, 2021, a surveyor from JOHFRA stamped the year 2021 on the disc. Looking at the datasheets, it appears they were back on site a couple of times, once at the end of February and again in August so it could have been added at either time. 🤷🏻‍♂️

BOCK (PID: DR6852) and BOCK RM 2 (PID: DR6851)

Now, with each BOCK mark assigned a unique PID and individually identified on the NGS Data Explorer map, these recoveries were easy-peasy! I didn't have a screwdriver (or similar tool) to open the lid on the aluminum cover for the station, but I expected the steel rod to be very similar to the tidal station above.

I suspect the cover for the Station and RM 2 were originally set without the "2021" date stamp just as RM 1 was.

Three Down, Three to Go

With three separate stations recovered (PB 0551 A, 941 0230 U TIDAL, and BOCK), I only had three more on my list. Each of these recoveries included a station (Flanged-Encased Steel Rod) and two brass disc reference marks. I believe we can credit Johnson, Frank, and Associates for identifying and submitting each of these to the NGS and adding them to the database. 👍🏻

As you can tell from the images below, the date stamp for 2021 was likely added after the original disc was established as the font size of the stamp is different than that used to stamp the Station Name, RM-1, and RM-2 on the respective discs.



Oops! Yes, I forgot to take an eye-level photo of MARTIN RM-2; 🤦🏻‍♂️ I'll have to remember to take one next time I am in La Jolla!


All-in-all, today was an easy and productive day. It's not uncommon to make several return trips to the same area. Sometimes, as was the case today, I get a bonus, where survey marks were added to the NGS database since the last time I was here. In other situations, research for Drive-By Recoveries leads me to additional surveys and marks I previously wouldn't have known about; that's part of the fun of this hobby. 😉

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