MK's bit: This semester, Philip and I were working with some new soil pit samples! This project was a continuation of the winter term project I did last year and presented this year at GSA. A lot of the beginning of the year, I was focusing on re-doing the analyses I had completed on the soil pits to incorporate XRF data. This meant shatterboxing all the samples, which was a time intensive project. When the new soil pits arrived, Philip and I had a bit of difficulty sorting through them because the labels on the bags had worn off. We were able to sort them, sieve each sample to <2mm, and pack and seal them before the semester was out, so someone else will be able to take this project over!
It's been a busy semester, but working with Philip has been a blast! We read a lot of interesting papers, survived mineralogy, had some crazy shatterboxing times, and learned how to use the autoclave. I'll be spending next semester in Cuba, and upon my return I'll be jumping in with my EPA project focusing on the effects of agricultural drainage tiles on subsurface erosion rates. I'm excited to see what the future holds!
Philip's bit: This semester was my first experience working in a research lab. It was a great experience working with Mae Kate and learning how to problem solve in the lab. My first responsibility in the lab was to help Mae Kate and Adrian shatterbox some soil samples to prepare them for XRF analysis. Over the course of the semester, I got to learn how to shatterbox, siv, autoclave, and catalogue samples, but my main job in lab was to maintain the liquid nitrogen levels in the labs germanium detector and the geology department's scanning electron microscope. I learned a lot working in Amanda's lab through both the frequent papers Amanda gave to us but also because my lab work tied in to what I was learning in Mineralogy. It's been a great, busy semester trying to balance my class work with my lab work. Working with Mae Kate has been great, and I'm excited to keep doing research in the geology department.