Postcards from The Field

Dear Science Enthusiasts Im Burning Up Here At

Dear science enthusiasts, 

I’m burning up here at the Syracuse Lava Project, a collaboration between artist Bob Wysocki and geologist Jeff Karson at Syracuse University. These fearless (and a little crazy) men work together to melt, mix and pour homemade lava for both artistic and scientific projects. Bob and Jeff were nice enough to host me and an AGU colleague for three days of pouring and filming lava. The lava - at over 1,000 degrees C - generated so much heat that we had to stop filming twice because the camera overheated. No one got burned (luckily!) and we got to see something few people (let alone scientists) ever get to see - real-life lava flows.  In this image, you can see Bob clad in his leather protection gear, operating the furnace. For this pour, we made the lava extra hot and poured it over wet sand. You can see that as the lava flows over the sand, it has vaporized the water in the sand and that water vapor causes the lava to bubble up. Next, we’ll be getting the lava even hotter and attempting to create a lava lake.  Wish you were here,  Lauren Lipuma AGU public information specialist 
Greetings From The Rv Tangaroa Offshore The

Greetings from the R/V Tangaroa, offshore the South Island of New Zealand.   At the moment we are deploying a Controlled-Source Electromagnetic instrument offshore the Canterbury Plains, which will allow us to measure sub-seafloor resistivity. Once the data are integrated with new multi-channel seismic reflection data that we plan to acquire next week, we will be able to characterize the distribution and geometry of one of the shallowest offshore freshwater aquifers in the world.   We are 12 days out on a 24 day research cruise. In the following weeks we plan to ground-truth our geophysical data by acquiring seafloor pore-water and water column samples where the groundwater is seeping into the sea to determine its origin and age.

You can follow our cruise on:   The cruise is supported by a European Research Council grant (MARCAN) and NIWA.

Don Quixote Lakes Of La Mancha 400 Years Later

Don Quixote Lakes of La Mancha: 400 Years Later

Dear everyone,

We are on a field trip with University of Granada’s master students in the Water Science Program at the Lagunas de Ruidera (Lakes of Ruidera) in La Mancha, central Spain. Here, fifteen interconnected groundwater aquifer-fed karstic lakes form an unique cascading landscape separated by travertine calcium carbonate dams of biological origin. Over 400 years ago, Miguel de Cervantes wrote his iconic novel “Don Quijote de La Mancha”, with the adventures and mis-adventures therein taking place in and around this enchanting region along today’s Ruta de Don Quixote. Now, under threat from multiple anthropogenic (e.g., groundwater extraction, summer tourism) and climate change (e.g., warming, droughts) stressors, these Ruidera (“roaring”) lakes with their series of waterfalls are becoming silent. More information on these lakes continuum, is available at the Lakes of Ruidera Natural Park website

Juan Manuel Medina-Sánchez, Manuel Villar-Argaiz, Guillermo Herrera, Presentación Carrillo, Departamento de Ecología and Instituto del Agua, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain. and,

Bopaiah Biddanda, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, Michigan, USA.

Have You Submitted To Postcards From The Field

Have you submitted to Postcards from the Field? (If not, you should.)

Do you have great photos from your research?

Contact [email protected] to take over AGU’s Instagram account and share those photos with our followers.

Greeting From The Indian Ocean A Freshly

Greeting from the Indian Ocean!

A freshly deployed NOAA research buoy located at 4°N, 90°E with the Indonesian Research Vessel Baruna Jaya VIII in the background.  The buoy is instrumented with meteorological sensors and ocean sensors down to 500 m depth; all data are transmitted to shore in real time via satellite relay.  This is one of many buoys that make up an array spanning the Indian Ocean basin to advance monsoon research and forecasting.

We are 14 days out on a 17 day cruise. With the work done here, we are heading to next buoy station, located 240 nautical miles to the north in the Bay of Bengal. 

Mike McPhaden

Greetings From Costa Rica At A Hot Spring On

Greetings from Costa Rica!  At a hot spring on Irazu volcano, our team is sampling microbes, water, and gases as part of the Deep Carbon Observatory’s Biology Meets Subduction initiative. We’ve been in the field for almost two weeks, and have sampled more than 20 springs and fumaroles throughout the Costa Rican subduction zone. You can read more about our progress on the expedition blog and on Twitter #SubductCR.  Photo by Peter Barry. 
Thats Me Looking Out Alvins Viewport On Dive

That’s me looking out Alvin’s viewport  on Dive 4850 near the summit of Matthew Seamount at ~2650 m depth, in the 8 20’N Seamount Chain in November 2016, studying seafloor volcanic processes and magmatism.  Probably the deepest selfie ever taken!

- Dan Fornari

Hi Folks Artist Mike Carroll And I Went To Erebus

Hi folks

Artist Mike Carroll and I went to Erebus under the auspices of the NSF’s Writers and Artists Program, to do a book comparing landscapes on Erebus with those on icy moons. Here I am descending into Hut Cave on the slopes of Erebus, aided by mountaineer Evan Miller, with Mike following behind. These ice caves are truly otherworldly features, and we can imagine that they might exist on Europa or Enceladus. 

Rosaly Lopes

Dear Everyone As The Sun Rises Its Clear Why

Dear everyone,

As the sun rises, it’s clear why this is an exciting time in the Willamette Basin, Oregon. For a brief period, Fall Creek Reservoir is drawn down below its conservation pool to run of river. This 49 meter tall dam normally impedes the downstream migration of juvenile salmon, but the draining of the reservoir helps them continue their migration. We’re working to learn more about the other short- and long-term implications of this novel management strategy.

Going with the flow,

Christina Murphy, PhD Candidate, Oregon State University

Like Stars In The Sky Lake Michigans Microbes

Like Stars in the Sky:  Lake Michigan’s Microbes Glow in their Waterscape

Dear everyone,

Here we are inventorying the microbes in Lake Michigan – the 2nd largest of the Laurentian Great Lakes.  At more than a million cells per milliliter of lake water, microbes stained with a nucleic acid-specific fluorochrome glow like stars under the epifluorescence microscope.  The smallest green specs are viruses, next come bacteria and cyanobacteria, with the largest space ship-like organism ferrying many bacterial aquanauts being a diatom.  These tiny, but abundant microbial plankton, link our planet’s watery “Inner Space” to the atmosphere and geosphere through their collectively massive activities such as photosynthesis and respiration.

Deb Dila, School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI.

Bopi Biddanda, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, MI.