Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Geologic bad habits

I am far from a perfect geologist. One of my most annoying habits, both to my self later on and to my colleagues, is that I often forget to put a scale bar in my field photos. Obviously not knowing the size of various features results in substantial information loss, so this is something that I tried to specifically address during our 2008 field season.

The one item that we don’t leave the truck without is a GPS. For one thing, all data has to be tied to a location point- there’s no point taking a picture of the biggest gold nugget evah if we don’t know where it is. And secondly, in areas on subdued topography, incomplete drainage, and/or thick scrub, the GPS is the best tool for finding one’s way back to the vehicle. So, I decided that the obvious thing to do was to add a scalebar to my receiver. Here’s the result.

Figure 1. slickensides and veining in sandstone. GPS gradations are centemeters.

Do any of y’all have geologic habits bad enough to necessitate the use of pink paint markers?

p.s. Kim, Sinistral?


Kim said...

You mean like my habit of leaving my hammer, chisel, and/or map at the previous outcrop? (I've put red reflective tape around my hammer handle. Makes it easier to see against a pile of rocks.)

Silver Fox said...

I've had flourescent pink or orange flagging around regular-size rock hammers for a long time, and usually carry a sledge because I can't forget it, I don't feel balanced without it.

I like the scale bar on your GPS, I've just used the GPS w/o scale bar, thinking that most geos know what size they are, but the paint is entirely more geekish.

Ikenna said...

I forgot my hammer- lent to me by a friend- during a trip in 3rd undergrad year. My buddy and I, in looking for the hammer were left behind on the field by the others. We had to hitch a truck to get back to camp that day.

I'm sure I will never forget a GPS on the field. I don't have one and when I get one it will be tightly connected (surgically if possible)to my body on the field.

Lockwood said...

When I worked in Forest Soils Ecology as a student, I got scolded a couple of times for knotting the plastic soil sample bags too tight. It only took a few minutes of working with samples I had collected to understand this issue. Fighting with the knots when you're trying to quickly and efficiently get labwork done- especially when you're wearing latex gloves to prevent contamination- makes for a quick lesson.

The lesson I never did learn well is to do a hammer count when you're leading kids (or adults, really) on field trips before you leave the outcrop. I've probably lost a dozen or more hammers over the years for this mistake. At $40 or so a pop, that adds up.

Karen said...

I read a comment somewhere -- written by a rockhound, I think -- that the desert serves as a large rockhammer exchange.:-)

I've actually left a GPS receiver in the field; fortunately, it happens to be bright orange, and I was only a hundred meters or so further along, so I was able to go back and find it again. I've also walked away from my Brunton on occasion, though never very far away. Oddly enough, I never leave my rockhammer. I miss the weight of it too readily.