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26 July 2007

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By Carl Katsu
This was our field trip day. We departed the hotel and then IOPD on time at 6:45 am! There was a good chance of rain, so the participants were given the choice to stay behind if we did not want to chance being out in the rain. Everyone elected to go.

Sure enough, the rain, heavy at times, began soon after we got on the highway. The possibility of turning around and returning to campus was considered, but we forged on, hoping for clearing by the time we arrived at the first site. We arrived at site one on time, and the rain ended. Our trip was truly charmed.

The field work centered around outcrops dated at the early Eocene Epoch of geologic time. We looked at layers of sediments and were asked to interpret the events that produced them and the environments under which they were laid down. These thought activities definitely challenged us, but we had many experts to help answer our questions and pose leading questions. We were glad to learn that these experts, too, were uncertain about some things, and had questions themselves.

Lunch was at the "picturesque" Jalisco Taco Trailer next to a gas station. The food was local and delicious. The stop was a definite highlight of the field trip.

Everyone agreed that it was fun to get outside and look at samples on site. Buck said that we were so lucky with the good weather that he purchased a lottery ticket. Luck did not continue beyond the weather.

Dr. Gilles (pronounced "Jill") Guerin, from IODP at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, spoke to us about logging – acquiring data by sending probes down the boreholes. This is usually done after the cores have been extracted. The data augments, supplements, and supports the data from the cores. They can provide details not seen or measured in the cores because the logging data about the sediment and ocean floor rock are gotten in situ. One of the uses of these data is to identify possible locations of methane hydrates.

The lecture was followed by an activity on logging data from six sites. We finished in the classroom with time to work on our activities and outreach proposals.

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