Thursday, October 6, 2011

So Many Field Trips!

Where did September go? It seems like I just got back into town, and now it's October. Every weekend in September I was away on field trips, taking advantage of the good weather before the rain sets in. The first weekend I went to Washington State with my Quaternary Geology class for four days, followed by a Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology trip to South-Western Vancouver Island, and then another trip to Sooke for Paleobiology. Needless to say, I have been putting out fires on the homework front, and stockpiling photos to put up on here, but I do have some great photos and some great geology to share when I can write up all about Washington, which will probably happen tomorrow evening (Friday) or Saturday.

But until then, I have a bit of a puzzle. I'm not sure if there IS an answer out for my question, but anyways...

(For scale, there are some rock climbers on the right hand side at the base of the columns)

In Washington State, we were looking at some columnar basalts that have some interesting kinks in them. These columns appear to have waves in them that carry beyond each column into a wavy pattern that is visible across the outcrop (as seen in above photo). The wavey bits are due to the column having different thicknesses, but it's just strange how they seem to line up. We asked our profs on our trip, and they didn't really know why they would do that, so I thought I'd ask around and find out if anyone had any good ideas or explanations.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Last Traverse!

I just finished the last traverse of the summer! We were dropped off in the Tuya River (well, on an island in the river), and spent the day hiking up and down the ridge next to the river. Before 8am, I had my pants rolled up and boots off, knee deep in murky river water. It was a great way to wake up after getting out a half hour early today. I lost my trav parter for about an hour, because he took off while I quickly took my fleece off. Apparently it wasn't fast enough, because he was way gone. We were just heading up the bank of the river, so it wasn't too bad, but I was walking for about 30 minutes and had lost his footsteps, so I tried yelling, and ended up turning on my radio. Apparently he was about 1km upstream by a gossan. I found a good game trail and just booked it up there, but it still took about half an hour. The rest of the day was good, lots of going up the hill and then down back into the river (for outcrop). I ended up getting ravaged by the black flies today though. I have 12 bites on my neck and face, but most (10) are on my neck. Good thing I don't react that much to them, because one's right by my eyeball.

Our pickup spot though, OH BOY. It was a swamp on the map, but I think some beavers had decided to move in there, because the water was up to my knees. My boots, that I took off to get off the river island first thing this morning, were soaked. My pants, also soaked. Oh boy. We had to cut down trees and cut a bit of a helipad, so that Jim (our AWESOME pilot) could land and take us out of that mess. He got in no problem, which was nice because we were cutting brush until just before he arrived. So good to hear that chopper today. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Nearing the end

6 sleeps until I leave this town!

Okay, that sounds bad, but honestly, it's a nice feeling to know that in a week, I will be able to take a shower every day, nay! Two showers a day!

We've got two more traverses, and then the map are is as done as it's going to be. We shipped out a few pallets of stuff we don't need anymore (our broken shower, samples, coolers, fly camp gear, one of our big tents...etc). It was nice to see a bunch of stuff leave, mostly because it means we'll be heading out soon too. It's been a great summer, but it'll be so nice to get back home. We're leaving on Wednesday, and driving down to Vancouver in about two days, so us students will have a few days to hang out in Van before we all go our separate ways(Newfoundland, Ottawa, Wisconsin, and Victoria). The tires for the truck FINALLY got sorted out today. Apparently the rental company never ordered the tires sent up, so we've been waiting for nothing. The local mechanic, Charlie, has ordered the tires, and they'll be up in Dease either tomorrow evening or Tuesday night, depending which shipment they make. Thank goodness, it's going to be close, seeing as we leave on Wednesday midday. 

We've been doing our last traverses in a bit of a panic, because the weather is going to crap out this weekend in a big way. Not just a little bit of rain, but an extensive downpour for about two straight days plus winds, etc. Probably even more snow in the alpine (where we have some sampling to do). Should be good. On the plus side, our second pilot, Dave, has left us, and we now have probably the best pilot we've had all summer up here. Jim's the base manager up at the company here, and he's awesome apparently. I was out in the truck all day, so tomorrow I will get to experience the excellence of Jim. Pretty excited. Not that any of our pilots were bad, Roben was great, but Dave didn't exactly exude confidence. I'm sure he had plenty of experience, but he'd kind of circle around a drop-off spot a few times, ask you if you were sure you wanted to get off into ankle-deep swamp, and then proceed to reluctantly land. Apparently Jim just goes in there, lands, gets you out, and to quote my coworker, "I could hardly get the bags out of cargo before he was halfway back to the base," so it should be good. My boss is happier already with the efficiency of Jim. If the boss is happy, I'm happy. 

We're having a celebratory margarita party on Sunday night, so that should be entertaining. We don't have a blender ( I don't think anyone in this town does, because of how much power they use. Heck, we can't even run a TOASTER on the generator), so I think its going to be 'on the rocks'. If we can buy enough ice in this town. 

It was my coworker's birthday the other day, so one of the girls made him this awesome card with a map of the important parts of Dease Lake on it (like the dump, the cattleguard, the bridge, camp, the gas station...) and I wrote a bunch of limericks and stuck them inside. Here's a couple of the highlights:

Our shed is riddled with mice,
the tents are rather quite nice.
Showers are a treat
for our stinky feet,
Thank goodness none of us have lice.

Drop offs and pickups are rough,
between them the times are tough.
we end up in swamps,
or with no outcrops,
but our legs are getting really buff.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pinball Wizards

Pinball Traverse: where you just kind of ping-pong around a small map area all day, going up and down and all around the place, without really getting anywhere.

The traverse was pretty good today, considering that the weather gods were against us. The weather report said it was going to rain, but it didn't! Score! We had some neat outcrops (including a new foliated intrusion, an ultramafic unit, and some sandstones). The sandstone was pretty awesome, mostly because I found some lovely rounded quartz grains that kind of proved my point that it was a sandstone and not a volcanic rock.... The rocks up here are a bit ridiculous, and it's hard to tell the sediments from the volcaniclastics sometimes, because there's a lot of plag in the sediments, the hornblendes are usually euhedral, and it's just tricky. The key is that there is quartz in one formation (Takwahoni), and not in another(Stuhini) (which narrows it down a LOT), and then the clasts in the Stuhini are usually visible on the weathered surface but entirely invisible on the fresh surface (because the rock is monomict). I'll have to take some photos and point out the clasts, or go through my coworker's photos and find some. It's super neat, now that I can finally kind of make sense of these rocks (kind of... I stress the kind of. )

But back to the traverse...
My partner today thought we were going to get skunked (as in not find any rock all day), so I had to tell him to 'harden up' because of his whinging. We found our first outcrop by about 10:30, and had decent luck at finding rock for the rest of the day, although we certainly had to run around in the brush a fair amount. We ended up making our way down into a creek for our chopper pickup, which turned out to be a good idea. We found this epic pickup spot, on a gorgeous gravel bar. Unfortunately the other team didn't have a great pickup spot, and ended up having to chop a bunch of brush down and build a bit of a chopper pad while the chopper was hovering above: stressful. Poor guys.

Yesterday we had a great day off, with gorgeous weather. A bunch of us went into town, ate at the new restaurant (Mama Z's) which was super exciting, mostly because they have french fries there. The other restaurant doesn't. We stocked up on beer, returned the empties(107 beer cans, plus about 20 bottles...$14 towards our margarita party!), and went out to the lake again between loads of laundry. All in all, a successful day.

Friday, August 12, 2011

That bird is pooched...

Last night during dinner, a grouse flew into the window, and hit the ground. We all rushed out to check on its condition, and it was hiding underneath the washboard by the stairs. I picked up the poor bird, who was pretty much on its way out. It didn't really fight my picking it up, and just kind of stared at me with a sad face. Poor bird. I felt bad for it, so I carried it over to some nice bushes, so it could have a nice rest, and hopefully it would either die peacefully or get sorted out and fly away (it's wings were fine, I checked those).

Unfortunately, the dog (Patches, adorable dog) ran over, picked up the bird in her mouth, and took off through the yard. That bird got pooched. I went back in to dinner, and just started laughing so hard at the whole situation. It was sad, but still just so silly that after my delicate moving of the bird, the friggen dog took it. At least the dog ate the bird, so it wasn't just a senseless murder.

Work wise, things are going well up here. We've been up in the Hluey Lakes area lately, being that we finally got road access! This is exciting mostly because we've been trying for 2 months to get in there, and we can take as many samples as we want in the truck, plus we don't have to carry them around all day. Pretty ideal.

We've got about 3 more traverses to do until we're done our map area, two weeks until we leave this town, so we've got our work cut out for us... kind of. It's a lot of computer work, and a fair amount of logistics to sort out before we leave. One of our pickup trucks has been out of commission for about a month (we rented it, but the company failed to put on proper tires, so they sent some up after we kept getting flats, but the tires aren't here yet), and we need that to head back down south. There's samples to ship, boxes to ship, and we have to figure out what we can send early and what we have to take with us. I know for sure I'll be back in Vancouver by August 28th, so that's reassuring.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Harden the F*ck Up.

As it was said to my coworker, from my boss today. The bush was real bad, let's just say that from the outset. Like real bad. I have a photo where you can hardly see me (wearing a hi-vis cruiser vest) one meter away from the photographer. Seriously. I'll post it at some point, but holy eff was it bad.

Our trav started out well, we drove out to the Hluey Lakes Reservoir area, and hiked through sediments all day (sandstone, conglomerate, laminated siltstones). It was a good day, lots of bedding ("This outcrop has more bedding than Ikea!") and the bush wasn't too bad really, until about 3:30 or 4pm.

We hit our second-last outcrop, and had to climb up over a bump to get to our last outcrop. It was probably only 300m or so, but it took a solid half hour or 45 minutes to get there. Ridiculous. Just really thick buckbrush, lots of it, and it wasn't bendy, so you couldn't even move it to slide past. At our last outcrop, we decided to head for a ridge that was above the rock, thinking we could escape the bush by heading up. This was probably the worst decision we could have made. That was the worst bush I've seen this month for sure, maybe even the whole time up here. It didn't help that we had an 8km trav behind us, but we went straight for the swamp. Yes, we chose a swamp over the bush. The swamp was easier going...kind of. It was deep swampiness, thick with moss and mud and water. It was brutal. My legs are killing me, but that may have been because I was challenged to a footrace for the last swampy 50m or so. I nearly died, and I only won because the truck that was our ending point conveniently rolled towards me. But I won, and that's the important part.

I think I have an office day or a day off tomorrow, so I will post some photos tomorrow. I have some good coloured leaf photos from today, proof it's autumn, or will be soon.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Creek to Peak!

Our cook and her husband were away this week, so we were responsible for cooking our own meals before and after traverse. It really wasn't as bad as it sounds, but I was on breakfast two days in a row which was a bit early. Getting up at 6:15 when I usually get up at 7 is a change. And the frost: Oh the frost. It's been so cold in the morning, but the sky has been blue all day long, so that makes it worth freezing at night for.

Yesterday we were dropped off right on the banks of the Tanzilla River, the main drainage out to the Pacific. We then proceeded to hike up. A lot of up. And not a lot of horizontal. While this sounds brutal, it wasn't that bad. I really enjoy going up, especially when you don't mess around and just get the 'up' done. Steep isn't too bad. We had a lot of bedded sediments, and dreams of fossils. No fossils though but not for lack of trying. Beautiful weather, sunny all day long, warm, a light breeze....pretty much what this whole mapping thing was sold to me as. Finally! :) We finished the day up on top of the ridge. I'll put this up on my GoogleMap in a day or two, it's been late nights here with having to do dinner and dishes.

Today was good too. Beautiful weather again (super frosty in the morning, it definitely freezes at night up here right now). Can't wait for tomorrow!