Today's adventures consisted of a return to the Karst systems for a number of different purposes. We shuttled gear again to our boat landing on Lake Linne consisting mostly of jerry-cans full of gas and our bathymetric gear to be used on Linne and the smaller Karst lakes. For reference: bathymetry refers to the underwater topography of any water body i.e. underwater contour maps. The students were broken up into groups of two and worked together to create geomorphological maps of the Holocene landscape, including inferences on the nature of the karst drainage patterns. Eeeek, that last sentence was full of 5 dollar words. Geomorpholoy is the study of how the landscape change owing to Geo- meaning earth, -morph- meaning change, and -ology being the study of (dansblogology for example…)
During their mapping time, I headed out with Sara to accomplish on a side mission of installing some temperature probes into one of the karst lakes. This consisted of paddling a small raft around the water body to find the deepest section using the bathymetry gear (basically a fish finder with GPS attachment). We then used the maximum depth to determine the length of rope we'd need to attach to a buoy at one end and an anchor rock at the other with temperature probes running in between to get a full idea of how temperature changed within the water body over time. To get the full picture of how these things operate we need data on all sorts of environmental parameters.
In all of this hiking, paddling, lugging, and sweating in a cold (~low 40's) and often damp arctic environment, we are constantly adding or subtracting layers, changing boots and socks, and in all reality exhausting a very limited amount of clothing in a short period of time. No one has attempted laundry out here but I am guessing it won't be long…
With the temperature probes in, we then met back up with the group, had our third lunch and set off to survey the last of the lakes we hadn't seen. In the process we came by even more amazing version of the stone circles I'd alluded to before. Specifically, we found a broad section that had a football field (american, not soccer but either would suffice) of these landforms. We found areas where the circle where just that but also spots where they formed long sinuous bands of perfectly sorted angular stones, reaching out like fractal tentacles onto the landscape. The larger sediments consisted of extremely angular bits of the carbonate rocks of the karats system and then graded to identical landforms with larger rounded stones from the Quartzite, derived not off the bedrock directly but rather from the marine terrace…a geologist's dream! In all honesty, if I didn't have a fairly good idea of the landscape I would think the whole thing was artificial. It looked like someone had spent years with a wheel barrow and an artistic rake. All in all, these forms are under the greater classification of patterned ground.
After a thorough inspection we headed to the boats to ferry for out hike back to the base. Mike ended up taking the small boat for two loads while Steve, a few students, and I headed up-lake to survey the ice conditions. We've been hesitant to hit the lake to hard before all of the ice was out and save the most northern section it is.
We arrived back at around 6:30 pm and I showed Hannah and Lauren how to clean our bolt-action 30'06's as they will be the gun caretakers at the end of each day for the week.
Now tired and it is 10:25 pm, I am going to make my best effort to fight the slow internet and get this out to the world wide web. A boat is now coming in as I can see from my window too so I might as well see what the excitement is. Till next time...