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Posts Tagged ‘field work’

Mark another one off the books. As of tomorrow I will be leaving Donegal for the year after finishing up the sampling in the Blue Stacks. It has been a hot past few days. Maybe not in DC terms, but definitely in Irish terms. The added heat, long hike, and heavier granite samples led to some exhausting days in the field. For that reason, when I finished up today I paid homage to Francis M. Synge, a Irish glacial geologist who would celebrate finishing a field site by going for a swim in the tarn. The water sure was cold, but felt mighty fine after the hot day of sledge swinging.

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With two or three more areas left to sample the equipment is starting to show wear and tear. I already broke one carbide-tipped chisel with Alan, and the replacement one without the carbide tip is rounding off quickly. It has already lost every bit of it’s padding that made it appealing in the first place. My work gloves are starting to get holes in the fingers, and my field pants are starting to develop holes where I won’t mention.

My hands are starting to feel some wear and tear as well. Nothing bad, just sore from all the errant hammer swings that catch a knuckle or thumb.

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I got the good word that the first batch of samples has already arrived in Oregon, and the next batch was placed in the mail today. It will be nice having them waiting for me when I return in a couple of weeks. I’ll probably take a moment to breath, and then get right to processing them in the lab. That’s the plan anyways.

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After two over night flights, visiting family in NYC, and more money than I like in baggage fees, I arrived in Ireland this morning. I was picked up at Shannon Airport by my adviser Peter and his field experienced wife, Jorie. Immediately we set out from the airport for Killarney in County Kerry with the goals of staying awake and prepping for the field work. We grabbed a few supplies in town including this Discovery Series topographic map of Ireland.

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After getting settled and grabbing some dinner we drove out to eyeball tomorrow’s field site, the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, in person. Having spent a significant amount of time scouting this site through Google Earth it was an impressive and exciting experience to see just how massive these features really are. In the handful of minutes we were there we already started putting together a game plan and finding areas to sample. It’s looking like this will be a good field site. Hopefully the weather cooperates and we stay dry this week.

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In just over a week I will be boarding a plane for Ireland. This will mark the start of the first of two field seasons for my graduate research involving surface exposure dating of cirque moraines. The plan for this season is to focus on western Irish mountain ranges found in the counties Kerry, Galway, and Mayo including the MacGillycuddy Reeks and the Nephin Beg range. 

Sample collection will involve chiseling off top portions of glacial erratics found along moraine crests, and hauling them back down the mountainside to the vehicle. My understanding is that it will be a bit of a workout. Here is a picture of a few of the tools I will be bringing with me.

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Most of these have already experienced one field season in Antarctica, so I hope they are still up for the task.

I am sure this will provide plenty of storytelling and picture sharing opportunities, and I plan on doing just that through this blog. Hopefully the hostels will be wi-fi friendly. If not, there’s a good chance I could find myself in a coffee shop or two along the way.

Please check back, and I’ll keep the updates coming.

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