Welcome to the blog for the Oberlin College Geomorphology Research Group. We are a diverse team of students working with Amanda Henck Schmidt on geomorphology questions. This blog is an archive of our thoughts about our research, field work travel notes, and student research projects. Amanda's home page is here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Day 2^3

We spent Day 8 split into geomorphology/water and petrology groups, all doing our thing and collecting samples.  It was pretty good weather, cool and breezy, but with some pretty dark clouds, thanks to Tropical Storm Bret.  Thankfully, it's supposed to stay south of us.

The petrology group spent our day in the south end of Dominica in a region known as Foundland. The majority of our group collected samples near the beach town of Font Saint John. Those that stayed in Font Saint John broke into two groups. One group collected pumice clasts and basalt from outcrops found along the main road through the town (Fig. 1). The other group measured layers to construct a stratigraphic column of deposits found along the beach (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Walking the road through Font Saint John.

Figure 2. Measuring deposits found along the coast near Font Saint John.
 A few “hard rock” people went to the northern end of Foundland (Fig. 3) to see the outcrops where samples were collected earlier in the week. While revisiting this area, we found a few more outcrops to sample from.
Figure 3. Outcrop in northern Foundland.
 The group that went to northern Foundland returned to Font Saint John around lunchtime. We split up and joined the two groups that were sampling nearby. Those of us that stayed near the coast had the opportunity to chat with some of the locals. They shared some stories of their lives in Dominica and taught us a few creole words.   

Students in the geomorph/water group, hard at work hunting for sand
Meanwhile, team geomorphology/water chemistry sampled 8 locations, this time on the east coast of the island.  And we were on time for dinner!  At each location, we tested and recorded data about the water, sieved sediments to the two size ranges (<63 and 250-850 micrometers), and took lots of notes and pictures.  Some of the highlights include swimming in one of the rivers, learning why Mazi is so obsessed with the hot dog/sandwich question (he’s in debate club so he apparently just likes arguing), and spotting a sign politely requesting cow owners to tie up their cows (upon seeing that sign, Cole jokingly asked if we could steal a cow, but Amanda immediately shot that down).

At most of the sites, we got in a rhythm and were completely done within half an hour or 45 minutes, but at a few it was harder to find fine enough sand to collect, in which case it took a little longer.  Some of the sites also went faster when it was really easy to get to the river—a few were just off the road and you could casually mosey on down—and it took a little longer when it was more challenging to reach the river—at one of the first sites, we had to climb through a hole in a floodwall to actually get to the water.

Starting our morning off right by scrambling through a hole in a floodwall
In addition to learning about the water, we also learned a little about the island from Pat, who explained that many of the descendants of the indigenous people live on the east side of the island.  She pointed out how the land was slightly different, since they generally farm more than people elsewhere on the island.  At our penultimate stop, she also showed us a little road leading around a bend to a nice view of palm trees and grass overlooking the ocean.

A beautiful ocean view that we enjoyed towards the end of our day
After our geology-filled days, the two groups met back at the guesthouse for dinner (as usual).  The day concluded with some of the best chocolate pudding we’ve ever had, so it was a pretty good day.

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