Posted by: Miriam | 13/09/2008

Life as a Geology Grunt

So, I havent blogged in a while because I was away from modern technology for 7 whole days. It was nice at first, but by the time it was over, I was scared to open my email. I had 242 emails at work and over 90 in my gmail account. Yikes.

I was/am part of a study to image the “red hot magma” chamber under Newberry Caldera. For those of you who dont know, Newberry is in central Oregon, south of Bend and just north of La Pine. Mini geology lesson: It is the same type of volcano as Crater Lake, but has had more volcanic activity post massive eruption. There is a small cone in the middle of the caldera as well, but there have been several other lava flows in the last 7000 years to create 2 smaller lakes and a pretty nifty obsidian (volcanic glass) flow (which stumps geologists because Obsidian doesnt usually flow and so the mechanism to make it do so is poorly understood).

So in a NE-SW direction we put in seismometers every 300 to 800m (depeding on location). The farther away from the center of the caldera the farther apart the seismometers got. There are currently 80 sensors in 80 holes that are 12-14 inches deep. About 20 of which I dug or helped dig. The other components are above ground, the recording device, the GPS antenna, and a set of 8 12volt batters wired in a series. All of this had to be packed in, usually 500m-2k from a road so that wasnt too onerous usually. The battery, recording devince, and GPS antenna all were placed in a very durable black plastic bag with an opening left so the battery could breath. On the 2nd day, a rodent had already chewed through the bag and gnawed on the cardboard box the batteries were in. Yippee. We also put these in rattle snake and yellow jacket territory. I am no so excited about the recovery week after next.

I will post pictures soon when I find my mini USB to USB adapter for the camera. It was fun though. And really really dusty. Its all pretty much just ash and when you are digging in the dirt for 8 hours a day, one tends to not stay so fresh and so clean clean. My hair would stick up straight a la Sonic or the villian on the Incredibles. It was pretty amusing and impressed pretty much everybody.

Finally a week after my return, almost everything (except my shoes and sleeping bag) are dirt free and put away. Only to do it again in a week. Weeee!



  1. Watch out!Volcanic Super Rat of Doom will be waiting for you…

  2. So, do you have information about what I choose to call “Little Sister”? That cool place off to the northwest (southeast?) of South Sister where the ground is growing?What can I say? It’s the only geology I know.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: