A couple years ago a family member asked me how many days a year I travel so I decided to keep track of it for 2012. Here are the number of nights I stayed at a location; total of 142 nights away from home (nearly 40% of the year).
- Blacksburg, VA (home) – 232
- JOIDES Resolution – 60
- ~Puerto Natales, Chile – 31
- Phoenix, AZ – 11
- Long Beach, CA – 5
- Charlotte, NC – 5
- Calgary, Alberta – 4
- Punta Arenas, Chile – 3
- Tabernash, CO – 3
- Salt Lake City, UT – 3
- San Francisco, CA – 2
- Menlo Park, CA – 2
- Hamilton, Bermuda – 2
- Columbia, SC – 2
- Lewisburg, PA – 2
- airplanes – 2
- Green River, UT – 1
- Danville, CA – 1
- St. Johns, Newfoundland – 1
- Charlottesville, VA – 1
- Reston, VA – 1
I’ve got some travel for 2013 already booked — field work, IODP sampling, conferences — but this year should be significantly less time away. But who knows, maybe some amazing opportunity will come my way.
This week’s photo is from the Cretaceous strata in Patagonia I’ve been working on for several years. I’m heading down there again this coming field season (January-February) and this time taking one of my new graduate students. I’ll only be down there for a bit over a week because of teaching and other obligations, but that’ll be enough to get my student oriented for his nearly two-month-long field season.
The sandstone bed in the photo above has some beautiful flute marks on the base. These elongate sole marks are formed by small-scale scour into the underlying substrate as a sediment-laden turbidity current flows down a marine slope. The sand that was carried in the flow is then deposited into the scours creating a cast. In most cases, these structures flare out in a down-current direction, which gives us paleocurrent direction. My field partner is pointing in the direction of paleoflow. I’m not sure how many flute marks I’ve measured for paleocurrent over the years — it must be in the thousands by now.
Image: my Flickr
The Cassini spacecraft continues to return amazing images and data of Saturn and it’s moons. Here’s a new image of a river of liquid ethane/methane (~400 km long) on Titan. Amazing!
Here’s a description that goes with the image:
The river valley stretches more than 400 km from its ‘headwaters’ to a large sea, and likely contains hydrocarbons. The image was acquired on 26 September 2012, on Cassini’s 87th close flyby of Titan. The river valley crosses Titan’s north polar region and runs into Kraken Mare, one of the three great seas in the high northern latitudes of the moon.
Image credit: NASA/JPL–Caltech/ASI
The Consortium for Ocean Leadership has released the final documentary film associated with Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 342 that I sailed on last summer. (If the embedded video above is not showing up on your computer/device, then go here.) This is a 20-minute documentary produced by ScienceMediaNL that combines footage from the six previously released episodes* into a single, coherent film. I think it does a great job of explaining the purpose of the expedition and capturing the feeling of doing ship-based Earth science. It’s a bit weird to see that two months of my life — two months without seeing land — condensed into a succinct story.
For those interested in the findings of the expedition, the preliminary report, which is >250 pages and includes >70 figures, was published online in late October. This report contains much of the fundamental data associated with retrieving the 5.4 km of sediment cores — however, most of the actual science will be produced after we sample the cores and do our analyses.
* See all six episodes that were filmed, edited, and uploaded to YouTube while aboard the JOIDES Resolution here.
One of the drill sites from IODP Expedition 342 this past summer recovered sediments that spanned the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary (~93 Ma). This interval, known as Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2), is well studied from numerous stratigraphic sections around the world and interpreted to record an event of very low to no oxygen in parts of the global ocean.
There was a lot of excitement as the cores that spanned this interval were being split. One of my colleagues from the core description team, Chris Junium of Syracuse University, has done quite a bit of research on this event and is pointing out the rather obvious bed of gray to black organic-rich shale within a succession of carbonate-rich pelagic oozes. The film maker we had on board was there to capture the excitement (check out the short movies he made from the expedition here).