20 July, 2001
Last night, a gentle rain started to fall, continuing sporadically (off and on) through this morning. Because rain can disrupt the electrical signals from the geophones (seismic reflection) and create a short circuit in the transmitter and the receiver (ground-penetrating radar), we were unable to collect data today.
Life on the ice.... (almost)
I woke up this morning with a headache (a very unusual occurence). At first, I thought it was because I may have been dehydrated (the valley receives less that 12 inches of precipitation of rain per year), so I drank lots of water. Drinking water didn't help the headache very much. I thought it may have been that I was cold (it was chilly and damp this morning), so I put on layers of clothes, put up my hood and warmed up. That didn't help much either. I thought it may have been that I was tired (we are working and playing hard, and keeping late hours), so I took a nap. That didn't help the headache either. But it did help me realize that I was sore all over from hauling equipment up the glacier. I took a couple of Ibuprofen to relax the muscles (and will swap back rubs with Ranae at the campfire). Thankfully, the sore muscles and headache relaxed at about the same time. I suspect that the backpack I've been using to haul the 50-pound battery to the collection site is pulling my muscles in the wrong directions. If the weather allows us to collect data, I'll use my own backpack to carry the battery the mile and a half to the next data collection site.
The break in data collection allowed Greg to analyze some of the data that we've collected so far and everyone else to tour stagnant ice and a vent on the north side of the glacier. "Stagnant ice" is ice that has been buried underneath layers of sediment and is melting so slowly that grass, trees and other vegetation have time to grow. "Vents" are places where water leaves the glacier. Some vents can grow to be incredibly large.
The lull also gave everybody time to catch up on reading books, writing postcards and napping. Ahhhhhhh....
Question (from July 18) for clever readers: Where else in the United States might you find a good example of an intrusive igneous rock rising above valley of sedimentary rock?
Answer : Devil's Tower in eastern Wyoming
Science at work
This afternoon, Greg, Kendra and Pat went to look for a second data collection spot further up the glacier. The REU students continued to explore possibilities for their projects. In a couple of days, they will have to write and present their proposals for feedback from the professors and peers.
As I learn more about the REU program, the more amazed I become. REU stands for "Reseach Experience for Undergraduates". Students who are science majors from small schools around the country are given the opportunity to get paid to travel to remote regions, design and conduct an experiment, and present their findings at professional conferences around the country. Most (but not all) of the students are geology majors.
If you are reading this journal and haven't gone to / finished college yet and you have even the slightest interest in research, know that someone is willing to pay you to travel and conduct research. I wish I had known about this program when I was an undergraduate!
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