Sunshine and Success!

4.22.2018 – 4.23.2018

The sun came out and the wind gave us a break! Sunday morning went fairly smooth, with the exception of the rod breaking where the motor and the drill bit attach. We resorted to taping to the two pieces together (not ideal but we did what we could with where we were at). You can see how big the auger is and how it moves in the video. We started with two people working the auger (typical) but eventually found that Dave was the most efficient at handling this thing. First of all, it is HEAVY. Second, you have to keep this thing in motion (up and down so that the auger would not freeze to the surrounding earth). Basically, the heat from the friction was enough to have slight melting but as soon as you would turn the auger off, it would simultaneously freeze. This deemed to also be an issue for the sample that was within the auger itself. So, we would have to really work at dislodging the sample when this would happen. We found ourselves strangely happy when the core sample was loose within the auger. It’s the small things..

We were moving at a pretty rapid pace. We had expected that we would get a core/hour. Throughout these two days, we were getting a sample in ~20-30 minutes! Which was great. I was beginning to think that it was not a big deal that we lost our first day and that we would be able to make up for that time without any problems.

As some of you know, fieldwork is never that easy, I mean, most things are never that easy. The missing rod was becoming a dramatic situation. That area was not that secure, so there was some pretty intense wobbling. This made it even more difficult to handle the auger. Sunday night Dave cut off the top of a rubber boot to put around the area (which happened to fit pretty well) where the motor and drill attached (where that broken rod once lived). We also constructed a backup device to secure that area if the rubber boot did not work out. We used this boot top for the remainder of sampling. By Monday evening, we decided that the rig was just too dangerous to keep going. It was so wobbly and was a big issue because our precious kneecaps and, at times, our faces were right there (less than a meter away). If this thing were to come apart while operating, it could have been a pretty bad scenario. Fast moving, sharp metal – no thanks. Ultimately, we ended up getting the cores we wanted at distance classes of 10, 50, 100, 300, and 1000 m with some field duplicates. Overall, we got majority of the samples we wanted and in just 2 days! Pretty remarkable. A ton of hard work went into getting these samples. Patrik, the pilot, must have thought we were sort of crazy, he told me we looked like elves out in the field. He also inspired me to change the title of my thesis to “Fancy Dirt”.

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