burner von braun wrote:
I hope you get some good rain out there, the kind that has a chance to soak in a bit. I haven't heard much news about the drought conditions lately, hopefully you're getting some relief.
And it is always good to see your kinetic vehicles Elliot!
How is your research going ^Rhino!?
Yo, burner, good to hear from you. The research is going swimmingly, for lack of a better term. My advisor and I have met several times, and we're going to schedule PhD comprehensive exams (the exam to allow me to proceed further) the first week of December. Two more samples from the playa were collected prior to my departure, and the good doc says I'll probably be going out there with him before the event to get more, familiarize him with the area, etc. He was totally impressed with my theory of ikaite to calcite transformation leading to a playa dust component. And in the literature, I just found even more proof of the same...some of the tufa mounds are hollow at Pyramid Lake, and further north as well. It's also going to lead to some new concepts of Aeolian silt sedimentation and structural characters for their recognition, plus an updated Pleistocene stratigraphic tie for the Midwest. All fucking awesome.
I hadn't realized my level of fascination with Aeolian (windblown) sedimentation until I looked back at my old M.S. thesis (1989). In it, I'm talking a lot about tidal sedimentation in a unit from the Lower Ordovician in Missouri. From the casts of gypsum preserved in the sediment, the mudcracks, and some other characters, we know that unit was also exposed, and it has some siltstones that were also near-sea tidal flats. Periodic wetness on those tidal flats trapped the silt (just like the playa), and the major clay mineral is illite (just like the playa) and there's a large quartz component (just like the playa).
Between my fascination with windblown dust sediments, my better than average training in soils, and my ability to think outside the box, the playa was the catalyst for developing all of the new ideas and concepts. Plus dogged determination and radical self-reliance, which go hand in hand. Each new day brings surprises and refinements of concepts. I love it.