Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cory and Langtree Field Work continued

Hey It's Cory Connell and I'm one of three Summer 2013 undergraduate research assistants who are on Dr. Polizzotto's team.  As a research assistant, I've worked in the field, lab, and on the computer.  I prefer working in the field but it's always nice to be in air conditioning every once in a while.  All of the work I've done this summer has been pretty neat.  I've collected, analyzed, and prepared water & soil samples.  Over the next few days I'll share a few of the summer sampling adventures with all of you.  I'll start by mentioning a few things Christine forgot to include in the last blog post.

Christine covered most of what happened during the Langtree sampling trip on July 18.  Langtree Peninsula was located at Davidson College's Lake Norman site.  As we pulled up to the sampling location, it looked familiar to me and then I realized I had been there before for a crew regatta.  Since I had been there before I knew where the bathrooms and outdoor showers were, which was nice since by the end of the day we were all dripping with sweat and wanted to rinse off.  Also I think I probably smelled like a wet dog by the end of the day because not long after Christine and I went swimming, I collected and evaluated the soil in the overgrown field by the monitoring wells.  I got some dirt, well soil to be politically correct, all over me along with some of this stuff:

(Source: Google Images)

In the overgrown field where I was getting the soil samples, I did not notice bushes of this stuff everywhere! A day or two after we went to Langtree is when I find out I got poison sumac all over my legs, arms, hands, and belly.  Yes, my belly too, I had mosquito bites all over my ankles and belly from being outside early in the week so intelligent me decided it would be smart to scratch my angles and belly with my bare hands which were covered in poison sumac.  I had to lather myself in anti-itch cream for the next week and a half.  The clayey soil that was in the overgrown field had Rhodic soil properties (aka it was really red) these properties are most likely due to the dark colored mafic bedrock that these soils formed from. Here is a photo of the soil profile to a depth of 4 feet:

(Source: my cellphone)
Even though a lot of things on the Langtree sampling trip did not go as planned I did enjoy myself and we were still able to collect a lot of well water and soil samples.  When doing field work you can not expect everything to go according to plan every time so you improvise, work with what you have, and do the best you can.  By the end of the day Liz, Christine, Allison, and I were all ready to get back to Raleigh though.

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