Monday, August 26, 2013

The F I E L D pt. 2

In my weeks leading up to fieldwork, besides slaving over the previous 8 amazingly striking pieces of blog-sphere masterpieces, I was tasked with organizing our attack maneuvers for our 7 potential field sites. This required time spent in front of the computer combing first through James Super's master's thesis from 2011. Super was C Page Chamberlains' Earth Systems MS student who attempted to study this geologic period and these exact field sites. 

Our generous driving route to (B) Seattle then on to (C) northernmost site, Driftwood Canyon. The other 6 sites lie south of Driftwood Canyon, with us planning to hit them on the way south.

When I first heard that we were going to redo nearly the same fieldwork that this Super person did years earlier, I was astonished and slightly appalled; if he had done an entire thesis on it, what could we not learn from his samples? It soon came out that Super's skills were, at the time, somewhat dubious and by reading the first sentence in his thesis, you can tell the dude's head and/or heart weren't necessarily in the scientific zone. 

What was awesome was the learning experience of following his paper trail (pun intended), left in the form of in-text citations. It's a great rush to find a chain of related articles on a small tertiary series of sediments in rural British Columbia, believe you me (more to come on what these papers said). On a very basic level, this allowed me to layout our driving route.

(A) Driftwood Canyon, Smithers, BC (B) Horsefly Lake, Horsefly, BC (C) McAbee Fossil beds, Cache Creek
(D) Falkland, BC (E) Quilchena, BC (F) Princeton, BC (G) Republic, WA

However, no ambitious plan is ever complete without RIDICULOUS BUREAUCRATIC COMPLICATIONS. Our first site, in almost-northern-holy-shit-British-Columbia-is-big, at Driftwood Canyon is a conveniently located in a provincial park, equivalent to our US state parks. This tiny park was created to protect and cherish the incredibly preserved Eocene fossils, producing incredible finds like prehistoric salmon and well preserved insect specimen. 

real good fishies yum

Sounds perfect for the project, ya? Well it totally was! until our request for a scientific permit to remove  a few fossiliferous shale samples was directly rejected. Apparently, our intended use ( FOR SCIENCE ) of the natural resource did not sit well with the minister and the Park Act

What was even luckier was that this rejection was not the last; nearly at the same time, I received a call from a local realtor in Horsefly, BC, our now first site of the trip. One of the 3 localities we planned to visit lies just beyond private property near Horsefly Lake in a position that access from anywhere but the property is impossible. During Super's fieldwork, he noted that the owners were contemplating putting the property up for sale. Two years later, it was up for sale and the owners and realtor were damn near hostile at my request for some an innocent, saintly group of scientists to visit the site. 

A charming town with aggressive realtors

And from there, all you can do is adjust.  

C'est la vie.

Images sources:
Google Maps
Google Maps

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