Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happiness is ...A window seat on a somewhat clear day ...

Back from the Geological Society of New Zealand Annual Conference - in Hamilton. Excellent conference. I learned lots, caught up with lots of friends - I mostly recognized them. On the flight up there I was able to get a window seat and the clouds mostly cooperated - there was quite a bit of haze, but I was still able to see bits and pieces .... On the return flight today it was ...yes, correct, cloudy. A southerly with driving rain welcomed us in Dunedin. When I got in to the Dept. I found a large envelope from Richard - comments and criticisms on the mss. YEAH! now I need to sit down and work through them. Oh, and the premiere of THE HOBBIT was in Wellington Yesterday. Quite an event. Lots of people dressed up - with elf or hobbit ears.

View to the NW shortly after taking off from Dunedin


Coast and looking east up ...braided river across Northern Otago / Southern Canterbury

Towards the Southern Alps (distance) & Mt. Cook

Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps

Plains and braided river

Starting to cross over the Alps where the Marlborough Faults cut through

More of same

Somewhere near Lewis Pass I THINK - wish I had had a topo map with me ...

Mt. Taranaki (formerly known as Mt. Egmont)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eureka !! Thursday 22nd November ...

Eureka is the name of the Pub/Bar that faculty and students decamp to at the end of the day on Friday. BUT it also reflects the task I have completed. Without further ado, here are the fruits of my labors:

Figure 1A

Figure 1B

Figure 2 - The Eyre Creek Melange

Figure 3 - Detail in Northern part of Melange

Point Count Data

Point Count Data - with standard deviations ...

Data fields ...

Pace and compass Map of melange

Photomicrographs illustrating textural development of phyllite ...

Clinopyroxene Geochemistry

More Clinopyroxene Geochemistry

And still more ...

The conodont: the stub was lost in the Dept. Collection, so this miserable SEM pic is all I have...

Arm waving #1...

Arm waving # 2

Arm and leg Waving - BUT I swear by it!

So, Happy Thanksgiving to ME!

Incredibly Busy

Suddenly I am overwhelmed with work. Getting the drafting finished for the mss. , Tectonophysics Seminar, doing an internal SCSU grant, and applying for a GeoPrisms Workshop, Oh, also getting ready for the New Zealand Geological Society Conference (next week), then AGU in San Francisco on my way home for Christmas. I don't know where the time has gone. Oh, and buying Hobbit Stamps :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Nevis-Cardrona Fault System OR A short trip across the Pisa Range

Testing the GPS in Alex. We walked to a
trig point that we KNEW the coordinates for.
The GPS was 24 meters off N/S.
The original plan was to look at the Schist for a variety of erosional structures, BUT the weather put paid to that idea, and we decided to do a traverse of the Pisa Range. First we had to calibrate and check the GPS; we put in lots of waypoints so that we could navigate across the tops in whiteout (if necessary).

Snack: The reward after crossing Roaring Meg.

Mark dropped us off at Roaring Meg in the Kuwaru Gorge (we left another car on the other side at Lowburn Station). The walk up Roaring Meg was mostly in the rain. We were both very glad to get the river crossing done without adventure. 
View up Roaring Meg - river just out of view below terraces.

At the Saddle. Clouds obscure Cardrona Skifield in the distance.
Then it was along the fault zone in Miocene silts and quartz-pebble conglomerates until we got to the saddle. Then just ~45 mins up and down to Meg Hut.

Downhill towards Meg Hut
Meg Hut - on the flats - with a stand of
now-dead pines, plus remains of old stone
hut built in 1890.

The fire! Inside Meg Hut

The firewood source- next to 'upper'
Roaring Meg.
Meg Hut in the morning

It started raining and howling wind about 30 minutes after we got there. Nice to have a fireplace and a supply of wood. The trees had been planted in 1890 by miners as a source of firewood, when they built the original stone hut. it froze that night, but the day dawned relatively clear (thank goodness) and it was over the tops (across other strands of the fault zone) to Deep Creek Hut. There had been a dusting of snow overnight, but nothing unmanageable. We were both glad we didn't have to navigate with the GPS - it was very confusing country - and even though the route was poled, it would have been hard to find our way. The views were spectacular.
Looking back down towards Meg Hut.

A dusting of snow on the tops.

View from tops

Tussocks and snow .. and view.
We arrived in mid-afternoon, and had time to poke around a bit. This hut had an old coal range, and we learned the location of some coal, which warmed it up nicely.

Looking towards Deep creek Hut (out of view)

Deep Creek Hut
Next day we headed up (another) hill to the tops, and after poking around looking at a shearing shed, it was down to Lowburn station. An excellent break, and I saw lots of geology, and my feet are quite sore. I really should just throw my boots in the rubbish, that way I won't get blisters from them again. I've had them nine years, so they have had a good innings.

Cloud - burning off from the valley below

Lake Dunstan, Lowburn Station

Terraces above lake Dunstan.

Yes, our sheepish welcoming committee.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Give Teeth a Chance November 9th 2012

Dunedin / Otago Newspaper Front Page

Phew, now I can breathe again and focus on work. Yesterday and today were the first days in Dunedin that one could wear a t-shirt - or at least walk around outside without a jacket or sweater - without being cold. About time too - very nice indeed.

I met with someone in the Library yesterday - they showed me what I was doing wrong when it came to selecting reference formats in refworks. Just lots of tedious work now to fix the reference list .... I have been re-reviewing my mss. and I keep finding more things that I have to check up on, read etc. It is driving me crazy. As soon as I have finished this post I'm making final changes and sending it to Chuck and Richard for their final review before I submit it.  Ugghh.

Want to accessorize?  Yes, from the ODT.
John Lennon's tooth on a necklace? Hmmm.

I'm heading off until Wednesday to do a 2-3 day traverse of the Old Man  & Old Woman Range in Central Otago with Dhana. There is still snow on the tops, so we will take snowshoes in case. I'll be back on Wednesday or Thursday. I'm doing a talk/seminar for the Tectonophysics Group soon, so I have to get that planned, then it is the New Zealand Geological Society Meeting at the end of November (in Hamilton, North Island), then it is off to the American Geophysical Union Meeting in San Francisco and back home for a couple of weeks. Yikes, time runs by so quickly.

Some (or is it A?) Protea - outside my 'boarding house'
These plants just look so 'antique' Love 'em.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Avoiding Work ... Nov 4th 2012

Remains of Knox Church on Bealey Ave 
It was Sunny (!!) today, but I still needed a sweater and jacket when I went for a walk, and I had to take my raingear with me of course, because it usually starts to rain at some point. Which it did. I am "supposed" to be doing grammar and reference and caption stuff on my mss. but I am avoiding that by organizing my pictures from Christchurch, and writing a blog post.

Remains of the Christchurch Cathedral. The decision
on how to deal with it has yet to be made and is

Christchurch. My perspective is very different to most locals because I didn't lose a family member or a job, and I don't have money tied up in a house, I don't have to deal with Insurance Companies or the Earthquake Commission. Overall, the damage is overwhelming, but what impressed me was the very organized and deliberate way they (CERA) are going about demolishing all the un-repairable buildings. There is a cordoned off 'Red Zone' inside Christchurch, in the CBD (Central Business District) into which only those authorized by CERA can enter.

One of the multitude of buildings awaiting
demolition. This one has moved up in
priority order because it is very unstable as
a consequence of recent ~4.5 quakes
Twinkletoes is off to the right
 I walked the entire perimeter of the Red Zone one afternoon, then I did the 'official' Red Zone Tour the next morning. It is a bus tour inside the red zone - about 40 mins. The reality of Christchurch as an earthquake time-bomb hits one when they request emergency contact details when one signs up. One also has to sign waivers etc. and they hand that information to the Army guards at the Red Zone entrance as we enter. Basically they are just working on demolishing buildings at the moment. They are recycling metal and concrete. When demolition is complete there will be 15 buildings greater than 7 storeys in downtown, and the actual reconstruction will start.

Buildings being demolished using the
'grabbing' method

As I understood the guide, they have two ways of doing demolition; one is 'cut and crane' where they cut concrete slabs, crane them out, pile them up and then move them off-site. The other uses 'twinkletoes' - the name used for the largest 'grabber' in the southern hemisphere - wich basically grabs sections of building, piles it, and then smaller machines are used to separate metal and concrete.

South of Oamaru - view from State Highway 1
looking NW.
South of Oamaru - looking NW