Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Trench

I went to Kaipoi today to look at the trench trough earthquake liquefaction strctures. One of the PhD students is studying them. Here are some pics. We spent a long time looking at the layers of sediment, trying to figure out the history of events recorded. 

The grey vertical things are called dikes; they fed the material to the surface from down below.
Note the rusty colored ones (most easily seen on lower left); They are probably from an 'ancient' earthquake
more of same
Doming of overlying sediment by ancient earthquake - the grey stuff didn't 'rise' enough to
reach the surface
Even more of the same :) 
sarah cleaning the surface / looking to see what happens to certain
layers in three dimensions
Yet even more of same :)
A close up of feeder dike
yet another close-up ....

The street next to the park where the trench is. Note
how irregular (and patched-up) the surface is - this is a consequence
of the liquefaction and below-srface disruption - all the silt and sand has been
removed from the surface because it was a big air pollution hazard.

House across the road from the trench. Boarded up - This is a red-zone area.

Road near park.


Spent all yesterday toiling away on four pages of text, only to realize as I was going to sleep last night that four pages could be condensed into two sentences. So, I just deleted (but saved elsewhere!) the four pages, and wrote the two sentences.

I am off shortly to go look at a trench dug to examine liquefaction features related to the Canterbury Earthquakes. Exciting.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


And I'm not talking about people in the northern hemisphere. I've been working on my fan delta paper, and trying to make sense of some sedimentological / stratigraphic problems that I had kind of avoided dealing with in my actual PhD. I had a big Ahhh-Haaa moment today when I realized that I had presented one of my measured sections upside-down. I had measured it going uphill through the bluffs, and forgot to show it going from the top to the bottom (if that makes sense to you). Anyway, once I realized that, I was (a) quite mortified, (b) surprised that no-one amongst my examiners had picked it up, and (c) pleasantly surprised to find that I am now able to make a nice tidy story out of it once I integrate it with the other measured sections. I still have TONS of work to do catching up on new work / reminding myself of what I once knew, but I'm on a roll ... yipee! That means fewer posts.

In other work news I am putting together a multi-authored 'white paper' on the Takaka Terrane for the GeoPRISMS (big NSF project) meeting that will be held in Wellington  in April. I forgot to apply to participate (applications were due just before Xmas, it dropped off my radar), but I will at least get my piece 'heard', even if I am not there. It was due today, deadline extended until Monday, which is a good thing. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow.

Now I'm going to go and read about Chavez, or maybe I should say about Venezuela without Chavez.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fork Handles

I spent 4 days in Wellington - two of them meeting with a colleague who works on the Paleozoic at GNS (Geologic and Nuclear Sciences - read 'Geological Survey'), and two with extended family and friends. My time at GNS was really productive. I now know more background to some of the papers that have been published over the past 20 years, and it is much easier to proceed with my work. It was also fun realizing quite how many people at GNS I know - I kept running in to people - quite a few of them were colleagues when I was involved with Andrill.

First though, is the reason I love the ads here:
Ad. seen in Wellington Airport
There was also the jumping / diving platform on the Wellington Promenade:

Jumping Platform (I failed to get footage of the
20-30 people that were jumping into the
harbour - some with significant splashes
Warning. Ignored.

I love Wellington, not just because of it's Middle Earth connections ...
View out my plane window upon arrival
Gollum fishing in the Domestic Terminal

But also because the harbour and surrounding hills are so accessible ....

View from Friends house
View from top of Kaukau (peak /hill overlooking Wgtn.
I walked up from downtown
View of Wgtn. from top of Kaukau

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gas & Fractures (aka Snakes & Ladders)

Went into the CBD (Central Business District) in Christchurch today to take a look and see how things are going. Lots more empty space - many more buildings demolished than when I was here in November, and I got thoroughly lost in the one-way system. But the creative spirt still shines through. Today I discovered this game in the Re:Start Mall (The 'container' shopping area in the CBD). Now I have to go fill out my NZ Census form - turn out that I am here when they do the Census, and I am counted. Two forms, a dwelling form and an individual form. Then I need to work on taxes for the US. Ugghh. I also have to get ready for my trip up to Wellington next week - I will be going up there to see one of my colleagues and try to figure out how the new map and stratigraphy meshes with the work I did, and my interpretations. I have to get organized for that - and try to get the text of the fan delta and the tectonics/melange papers done.

Rules of the Game
Board and Dice
The Fracking Wheel

Friday, February 22, 2013

(small) Earthquake

For my friends in the Midwest:
I just felt the my first definite Earthquake here. I was lying down reading and there was this whole jolt to the house and the windows rattled. Kind of like the feeling one has when one is in a train car and they are adding another carriage.

Of course I jumped online to find out more ... it was 3.9 on the Richter Scale, and the epicenter was about 19 km away (another source put it just above 4 on the Richter scale) and III on the Mercalli Scale. It originated at about 7.7 km depth. Here are all the details:


I was actually woken up last night by a very small one too (around 2.5 I think) just before 3 am- at first I thought it was someone breaking in - then I realized that the window had just shaken ( old windows, rattly catches).

Today was the 'anniversary' (I put it in quotes because I usually think of that word in a happy context) of the Feb 22 Earthquake in Christchurch, with tragic loss of life and devastation of the city center. There was a memorial service on campus just round the corner from the geology building - as well as many others throughout the city.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mount Cook and Christchurch - finally!

My academic interest in going to Christchurch via mt. Cook was so I could see the terraces and the moraines. I wanted good pictures to use for teaching (at least that was my excuse).

View of Mt. Cook from the SW side of  Lake Pukaki.
Face on the other side of the Lake is 'decorated' with terraces.
I need to learn more about their history.
I walked up the Hooker Valley across / around a variety of moraines and pro-glacial lakes. 

View to the front of the Mueller Glacier (covered in debris)
and the sedimentary debris mantling the valley side. Water is
yellow grey-green because there is so much clay and silt in it.
The lake in front of the Hooker  Glacier. I particularly like
the story that can be deciphered about the relative age of
events from the terraces and scree slopes across the valley.
Yes, that is another funky cloud in the upper left. 
One of three 'swing bridges' en route up the Hooker
Now I am going through the process of getting keys, photo ID, building access, library access and computer access at Canterbury - but I still have computer access at home, so I have excuse but to read some articles that I have to read before I can write any more of the fan-delta paper. I have my mandatory earthquake safety training tomorrow.