July 10, 2012 Squish! Squish!
That's the sound of a serious work day! At least it is for us. The coveted missing United States Post Office package "just" arrived today. I think the USPS will be very sorry they selected Elliot to fill out a customer service evaluation.
Ready, Set, Go
Elliot tore into the box the second we got into the lab. Inside were the remaining soil chambers, chemicals, and electronics; basically science goodness. Yay! Elliot tested and prepped the electrodes, along with my help, of course, and then it was time to go to the field.
Cold Hands, Warm Heart
Getting soil chambers into the ground was no easy task. As I mentioned yesterday, the soil really isn't very soil-like; basically it was stubborn, if soil can be called that, and it took a ton of work to get them in the ground.
As Elliot discovered, it wasn't simply twisting the chambers around and the dirt giving way like back home in Ithaca, NY. So several hours later, welding that bread knife again, hunched over, sticking his bare hands into cold water and gooey mud that came up almost to his knees, Elliot inputted the 27 chambers into the 3 different test sites. Yes, Elliot does all his own stunts.
I wish I could say the 27th one was easier than the 1st one, but any way you put it, it was a lot of time consuming, careful work. After inputting all the chambers, we went back around to each site to attach electrodes. The site looks impressive now with all the soil chambers.
As with any scientific process, being open to revision is necessary and essential. I tell my students, just because you need to revise your hypothesis or your procedures doesn't mean you made a mistake. This is the case in the field as well. In the days leading to today's soil chamber arrangement, it was necessary for Elliot to revise the placement of the soil chambers. Back in Ithaca, Elliot discussed an array arrangement using 9 chambers per site (3 across and 3 down). But here on site, Elliot realized that lining up the chambers in a row made more sense because the original concept made it rather impossible to reach the middle chamber. Just goes to show you that revision can be incredibly positive and yield needed improvements.