Field camp!

Sunday, 2004-07-18; 05:58:00

Woo volcanology!

So if you haven't heard yet, then you're probably out of the loop. I'm going to be gone for three and a half weeks, since I'll be at volcanology field camp in New Mexico. Should be fun, as it includes a two-day rafting trip down the Rio Grande, and I'll also probably get to see Sobie again (a friend from my sophomore year who just graduated from Stanford). Oh, yeah, and of course there's the whole thing about learning a lot more in depth about volcanology and volcanic rocks and all that good geological stuff. :) No computers and no phone for 3.5 weeks... mm, sounds great.

It'll also be good since it'll help me for my research that I'll be doing out in Long Valley later in August. I've been doing some rock crushing and grinding over the last week in order to test some hypotheses about the types and timing of eruptions in the caldera; it's a very long and involved process, and the crushing and grinding is only the start. (In case you're wondering, you basically start out with a whole rock, making sure that there are no anomalous inclusions or weathered surfaces. Then you put it through a jaw crusher, going through about 3 passes with progressively smaller space to crush the rock into smaller fragments. Then you put it into the rock grinder, again going through a number of passes with progressively smaller space between the grinding plates. This all ensures that you maximize grains of the rock that are medium-to-fine sand grain sizes. Then you wash out these grains in water and then in acetone, and then you put them through the Franz magnetic separator to get the minerals you want to put through an Argon analysis, which gives you a date for the volcanic rock. I believe this last process is similar to a mass spectrometer which allows you to differentiate between several isotopes of the same element, but I'm not sure as to the specific details about what we'll use to do this analysis.)

After field camp, I'm going to be finishing up this process of dating these volcanic rocks, and I'm also going to be spending a week or two back out at Mono Lake to map the tufa-encrusted pumice blocks that are littered around the edge of the lake. Then in September, out to northern Nevada to set off dynamite! :)

See you in a month!

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