Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where did spring go?

Took this pic two weeks ago. Today, the brave little crocuses were only able to poke their little heads through a blanket of white snow. The Wasatch Front has been hit hard this last week with over 3 feet of snow in the mountains.

The rhubarb is beginning to grow too. Mmmm, strawberry-rhubarb pie.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Science Girls Rock

Yesterday I (Lucy) lead a team of mostly women geologists judging the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair. Out of 286 projects, about 30 geoscience related projects by girls were eligible for $600 in cash and prizes awarded by the Salt Lake Chapter of the Association for Women Geoscientists. I think I speak for the rest of the judges when I say we were thrilled and encouraged by the level of knowledge, ingenuity, and EXCITEMENT exhibited by girls about science, and especially about geoscience. Seeing young women interested in science brings me more hope for our future than most anything I've seen in the past 5 years. Congratulations to the girls who won our prizes, and kudos to all the boys and girls who participated. The girl we chose as winner of the junior high division is featured in this Salt Lake Tribune article. All the winners are listed here.
Here are a few pics of us judges beside the students and their displays, and one of Allison and I handing out awards at the raucous awards ceremony.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring field work

All through the month of March, I will be working in Snake Valley conducting aquifer tests. Snake Valley straddles the Utah-Nevada border and lies in the heart of Utah’s West Desert, a sparsely populated, high elevation desert including lots of big mountain ranges separated by flat valleys. An aquifer test, sometimes called a pump test, is where we pump a water production well and monitor the drop in water levels in nearby monitoring wells. We will run calculations on these data to tell us how transmissive the aquifer is, or how much water can be produced from the aquifer. Monitoring requires someone to be here in Snake Valley almost every day for about a month and a half. Since Drew is on the lower rungs of the seniority ladder, he drew the short straw for his schedule this month and ended up with mostly weekend work. My coworkers were eager to let me take the weekend shift of well watching (not to be confused with whale watching, which would be much warmer and more fun). So here I am, camped out in the company trailer at the Border Inn RV park. The people here take good care of us, and I think it is kind of fun to camp out in our little “Hideout”, seen below in the shadow of Wheeler Peak, Nevada and Great Basin National Park.

Spring weather prevailed on Thursday and Friday, and I was able to get nice bike rides in after I finished up my work, but winter returned with a vengeance last night. The poor little Hideout was rattled and shaken until I thought it would rip apart, and the wind howled all day until it finally snowed on me. But still, I’m able to do field work instead of being stuck in the office writing reports, and I can’t complain about smog out here! The air is about as fresh as it comes. I’ve also spotted a nesting(?) pair of bald eagles the past few days; you won’t see that in Salt Lake City.