Sorry for the gap in posts, but the following was supposed to be uploaded yesterday. Some technical difficulties prevented that, but have since been resolved! Enjoy…
Today was “typical day” studying the Taupo Volcanic Zone. By this I mean that we drove around a bunch, had a hard time finding the correct eruption units (because there are 57027562 different units and they all look very similar), eventually figured it all out, bagged a ton more pumice, and called it a day. The units of interest were the Hauparu and Maketu and these are part of the Mangaone eruptive sequence. These are slightly younger than the Rotoiti caldera forming eruption and we are sampling them to get a better look as to how these caldera forming systems behave before, during, and after eruption. The more eruptive units we sample and look at on both sides of these caldera forming eruptions, the higher resolution look we can get at how they evolve through space and time. However, in the TVZ, this is much easier said than done. It took us 4 hours of driving around (and stopping once for coffee) to even get to an outcrop that we could definitively say was Hauparu and Maketu airfall deposit. Needless to say, when we did reach this outcrop we went into full ‘smash and grab’ mode, bagging as much pumice as our sample bags would allow (see Tyler below for scale of the excavation work done by him and his hammer). After this we went and sampled some Mangaone airfall within the larger Mangaone eruptive sequence…super straightforward naming by whoever did the initial field work on this one. By this point, we didn’t have enough time to get to our third stop for the day, which requires special permits, so we’re tabling that until tomorrow. This shouldn’t really be a problem, as we were conservative with our total time estimates and made sure we wouldn’t be in a rush, even if things like this did happen.
We also stopped at Blueberry Corner…again. Faculty’s choice, not ours, but I’m not one to turn down amazing ice cream, so I indulged for a second day in a row. This time I went with boysenberry and it was equally as good as the mixed berry. Still 10/10 would recommend!
Upon returning home to base camp, the Tephra Team decided to go for a swim in the ocean to cool off from all of our ‘exhausting’ field work, and wash off all the pumice dust that was covering almost every square inch of our bodies. The water was much warmer than expected and was quite comfortable! Lydia, Tyler, and I then decided to go for a run, because as Kari put it earlier today: “This may be one of those field work trips where you actually don’t get in better shape than before you left”. For those of you don’t know me, I am not a runner. Even when I was playing soccer back in the day I was not a runner. Still, we went for a moderate 30-minute jog on the beach and it felt good to get the blood pumping a little bit. My feet and calves may have another opinion tomorrow morning, but that’s okay, we’ve got to take advantage of this amazing ocean front while we can!
Dinner for the night was marinated chicken breast, garlic potatoes, assorted vegetable salad, fried zucchini, and beer from Moa brewing company here in New Zealand.
To cap it all off, Tyler gave a little talk on what the Cooper research crew will be doing with the samples back at UC Davis once we’ve gathered them all. Once I get a little more bandwidth, I’ll be able to upload videos of things like that for y’all to see and provide a little more insight into our field work down here.
Although it got off to a slow start, it was another successful day of pumice hunting down here in the Taupo Volcanic Zone.
See y’all tomorrow,