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July 21, 2005

GPS-in'

The next day, we were able to work. It wasn’t the bluebird day people had hoped for, but it showed some promise. Sort of. Ron said the wind was supposed to die out throughout the day, which at least gave hope.

The GPS crew consisted of Patrick, Erin (a UW field assistant who I worked with in Antarctica last season), Erik, Quintin, and John (high school science teacher from Missouri). I think Erik and Erin and John wanted to come, while Patrick and Quintin were recruited. Ron had told Patrick that we needed some men with big muscles and small brains.


[The drill team, plus Ron, at the toe of the flow.]

Our goal was, once again, to drill as many holes as we could. Sort of. As many holes as we had pins for, and had time for, and based on the latter we were hoping to drill five. But we did better. We did eight. Go drilling team.


[Erik, Pat, Erin.]


[Finished marker.]

I came behind the drilling team with the GPS gear to occupy each marker the drilling team installed. I taught Quintin how to level the antenna (I told him it might not be as glamorous as drilling, but while the other guys were just laborers, he was a skilled worker) so that he could do it. The following picture pretty well represents division of labor.


[Erik, Erin, and Patrick drilling; Quintin leveling; John standing by.]

Our system worked quite well, especially after the drilling team discovered the benefits of using water in the drilling. There was plenty of water around. Did I mention that there was plenty of water around? We were on a solifluction lobe, right? Two, actually. Anyway, my definition (see two days ago) was ‘blah blah blah saturated soil blah blah.’ Saturated. As in, wet. Downright mooshy.


[Working in the mush.]


[Drilling. Is there actually a rock somewhere in that mush?]


[Pat loses his balance. Mush.]


[An instrument recording at the end of the lobe.]

When the drilling team finished, they packed up and left for camp in a hurry. We were already on our way to being late for dinner. Earlier in the day, I had told them that the surveying would probably take a lot longer than the marker installations, in which case I could stay on alone and they could go back to camp. But things went pretty well with both the marker installations and the surveying, so that the surveying wasn’t very far behind, and when I saw them packing up I was bummed. I mean, I knew we had been unofficially and unintentionally divided up into drilling team and surveying team early in the day, with set roles that all were reluctant to change, getting into that specialized role and then going with it because it’s something comfortable and known and efficient, but I still thought—I mean, I just figured that—well, that we were still one team. But no. Just like that. They were ready to drop everything and go, without even checking to see if I needed anything else.

Quintin stayed back to finish the surveying with me. Quintin’s a good man.

Turns out we weren’t the only group to arrive late for dinner, or even the last arrivals. Everyone had put in a long day. And it would be another long day to follow, since we were planning to hike to the next valley over to do more of the same. More of everything else, that is. Our GPS work was done. And, it seemed to have gone well. So I got to join the group for the hike and some exposure to different science.

Posted by beth at July 21, 2005 5:38 AM