July 12, 2011

Left Behind in the Field: Accretionary Wedge #36

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

For this month’s Accretionary Wedge, Geosciblog asks:

What do you regret leaving behind at a geological locality?

In other words, what samples, specimens, or even photographs do you regret “not getting enough of”?

For those of you who are not familiar, the Accretionary Wedge is a monthly “geology blog carnival” where geobloggers of all kinds are invited to blog on a theme. The deadline for this month’s Accretionary Wedge is July 16th. Be sure to head over to Geosciblog and participate!

Personally, my experience with scientific fieldwork has been collecting far more rocks, photographs, and notes than I could ever possibly work on scientifically. For every month of fieldwork I’ve done, I’ve had to work a year or longer in lab just to process a subset of the rocks and data collected from the field. Geochemistry is often this way; it takes months of hard work to process samples collected in the field. I’ve been lucky enough to participate in three major field campaigns during graduate school– a 2007 expedition to the Ninetyeast Ridge in the Indian Ocean and two month-long field campaigns in the Samail Ophiolite in Oman.

During the Ninetyeast Ridge expedition, we collected an enormous quantity of rock– about 3,000 kilograms!

A full dredge basket of rocks. Indian Ocean, Summer 2007.

Too Many Rocks. Singapore Harbor, August 2007.

Still too many rocks. Singapore Harbor, August 2007.

We collected so many rocks, in fact, that we started to become creative with some of the less-important samples:

90E Ridge in Cobbles. Indian Ocean, Summer 2007.

Because we’ve collected so many rocks during the fieldwork I’ve participated in, I rarely wish for more rocks– I have enough to keep me busy! Occasionally, I do sometimes wish for a specific scientific sample. However, for my thesis research I was fortunate to have two field seasons. During the second field season, I collected many of the samples I longed for after the first field season. During my field seasons, I also collected a plethora of notes and photographs.

So, what do I wish I had brought back from the field with me? Not more rocks or notes or photographs. I wish I had brought back baby goats. Or maybe a baby camel. Particularly these little babies from Oman:

Baby goats 1. Oman, January 2009.

Baby goats 1. Oman, January 2009.

Baby Goats 2. Oman, January 2009.

Baby goats 3. Oman, January 2009.

Baby camel 1. Oman, January 2010.

Baby camel 2. Oman, January 2010.

I’m not sure where we would put the baby goats and camels since we live in a 2-bedroom apartment. I’m also not sure if they would get along with our two housecats. But I’d like to bring them back anyway…  because they are adorable! I guess I’ll have to make do with pictures, though.