Teen Science Scholars Peru Update - August 8th

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By Kimi McBryde, 2013 Teen Science Scholar


August 8th, 2013

Morning routine, to Chocope, through Mocan. Clare and Airielle headed back to cateo (cut) 3 to continue sampling and to draw the cut in diagram form.  Lauren and I were set on sifting detail and supervision of cateo 4 with Pancho, Neri, and Guillermo again.  They finally finished that cateo at about 11:40. 

Sifting detail means that at every capa, we would sift through the sediments using a 0.5mm sifting frame to look for any organic material caught in the layer.  A capa is basically every layer, in that it is defined where the sediment changes.  In the three cateos we dug near 44 there were 3 capas each.  Each capa is defined with a letter-A, B, C, etc.  We had sifted the sediments at cateo 4, filled out the log sheets, with all sorts of information, and also taken surface sediment reference samples from the north and south sides of the cateo.    

While we had been supervising, Ari and Michele had headed off into the desert with the police man to go find another old field as placement for a 5th cateo.  They marked this cateo with a waypoint and a fluorescent pink flag.  When they returned to base camp, they sent Lauren and I out to find the marker and set up the next cateo.  We walked the 600 m out to the location, and using stakes, string, and some sticks, laid out the 2 m x 1 m cateo (double checking the rectangle using the Pythagorean theorem).  Once that was done, we returned to get the digging team and show them where the cateo was. 

As the guys were finishing the cateo, Lauren and I had been filling out the lab tickets for each sample.  Unfortunately, this means that we had to write the exact same thing twice for each sample, and roughly the same thing 16 times for each capa, with an addition to capa B because of all of the organic material we found in the sifting process.  Each sample was taken with a different spoon, in a different bag.  For each capa, there are 2 sets of samples and 2 samples within each set.  The two sets of samples are for Ari and Michele (AM) and for Jeff Quilter (JQ).  Within those sets we take one sample for pollen testing and one sample for sediment testing.  Also, if there was a lot of organic material in the sifted sample, we took another sample for AM for floating tests.

Thankfully, we didn't get stuck again on the way back, but the driver had both windows down the entire trip back.  Although that did create a weak vacuum, it also allowed a ton of dust to pour through the windows into the back of the van.  Michele got some pictures of everyone sitting there with their faces covered. I don't think I've ever felt so dirty in my life-the layer of dust on everyone and everything was pretty gross and not very comfortable.


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