Fieldwork Day 4 + 5

Planetary Spherules Project: Fieldwork Day 4 + 5 (Saturday & Sunday, November 29-30)

With 2 days left in the field, I decided to give Kelli and Renee a little hands-on research experience. The best way to learn to do science is by actually doing it, and what better place to start than with a fabulous field area like this one? “Las Chicas” became “Las Jefas” (which amused Aristides to no end). The goal for the remainder of this project was to characterize the variations in types of volcanic rocks that make up the fan deposits over a large part of our field area. As “Las Jefas” they were in charge, and responsible for evaluating the field area, deciding what constituted different fan deposits, scouting sampling locations, developing sample protocol, taking the samples, field notes, sample labeling, and generally deciding what to do, when, where and how to do it. They rose to the challenge, and designed a well-reasoned project and implemented a significant part of it today. Hey especially liked being the ones to give driving directions, with a point and a little nod, and a ‘Let’s go over there and look…’ to Aristides.

We, Jen and I, relegated to non-Jefas for these two days, tagged along and answered questions when necessary, but basically hung back and let them get on with it. This was the second year of research at Salar grande, and I arrived with some well-defined ideas of what we should be looking at. We accomplished everything I wanted to study, and even more, thanks to hard work, some toughing it out when people felt under the weather, and a lot of interest and motivation from Renee and Kelli. Great job Las Jefas!

This is the first time we’ve had undergraduates in the field as part of this project, and coming to Chile for fieldwork (in Kelli’s case her first-ever fieldwork) was a big step for them. This has been a great success and I find I’ve finished this part of the field expedition with a sense of accomplishment, and am looking forward to the next project with great anticipation.

Kelli and Renee