Monday, February 18, 2013

February fieldwork

Alex arrived at the start of February for what turned out to be a difficult week weather-wise. Bad conditions up at Hengill kept us in town for most of his trip. We had one good weather day. We made the most of it by getting help from Sveinbj√∂rn, who drove us to both OH2 and the Hengill valley in one of the Geology Department's tricked-out trucks. Even that was defeated by a particularly enormous snowdrift on the way into Hengill, however. We ARE on the road in the photo below. It's just that we're separated from it by about six feet of white stuff.

We had to walk the rest of the way. Getting into both sites in one day was key though. We were able to collect benthic invertebrate, algal and microbial samples from both streams, and set up loggers at Hengill. OH2 was almost completely covered in snow, precluding some of the regular sampling there. No such problem at Stream 7 in Hengill, thanks to the wonders of central heating. Guess where the warmed water goes into the channel in the photo below:

All in all, a very productive day. Just as well, given our luck the rest of the week. And we got a ride most of the way back to our truck. You never know who's going to turn up when you're off the road in Iceland. These folks from a local rescue team were scouting sites for a training exercise. With 38-inch tires inflated to just 7 psi and special low gearing, they had no problem negotiating the snowdrift that had beaten us earlier.

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