Coring Odell Lake

July 9th, 2010

Odell Lake in the early morning hours.

The dedicated team of Wooster Geologists, Sarah Appleton, Stephanie Jarvis, and Dr. Greg Wiles met up with the sleep deprived team of Geologists from The University of Cincinnati, Bill Honsaker, Gianna Evans, and Dr. Tom Lowell. The goal of day one was to field test equipment destined for a trip to Greenland, acquire lake cores for the Climate Change class at The College of Wooster and map the lake using geophysics, a branch of earth science dealing with the physical processes and phenomena occurring especially in the earth and in its vicinity.

Odell Lake is located in Holmes County, Ohio and is a natural lake that was formed by a glacier. Portions of the glacier broke off and melted forming a kettle lake. In the case of Odell Lake three pieces of a glacier broke off during the termination of the last ice age, about 15,000 years ago, and melted. As a result Odell Lake has three basins. The first basin is the largest but also the shallowest, the second basin is smaller and deeper and the westernmost basin is the smallest and deepest attaining almost 30 feet in depth.

Our first day began early in the morning in an attempt to beat the heat of the day. Once we arrived at the lake we began to unload our supplies. Most of our equipment came “some assembly required”.

A whole new meaning to some assembly required.

After several hours of assembling the necessary tools and equipment we were ready to divvy up jobs. Sarah and Gianna were assigned to the geophysics boat. Gianna was the geophysics specialist and Sarah was the boat driver (Gianna was a brave soul because this was Sarah’s first time driving this type of boat). Stephanie, Dr. Wiles, Bill, and Dr. Lowell boarded the coring vessel for her maiden voyage.

Sarah is learning to drive the boat and Gianna is ready, just in case, with the paddle.

Sarah and Gianna began crossing the lake mapping the depth and using sonar to determine the stratigraphy under the bottom of the lake. The wind was blowing pretty strongly and it caused a problem when the pair attempted to map the shallower water. The boat-mounted shade tent, as it turned out, made a terrific sail and the boat was blown aground. After some delicate maneuvering and dismantling the “sail” the team was back on track.

The geophysics team (Sarah and Gianna) deciding their next move.

The coring vessel was paddled out into the deeper water. It was a slow going process. Once the coring team was near to the location Sarah and Gianna were flagged down to identify the deepest part of the second basin. After assisting the coring raft the geophysics team returned to mapping. 

Onboard the coring raft the team worked diligently to test the equipment. At the end of the day they had a good set of cores and the geophysics team towed in the raft to save a lot of paddling.

Posing for a picture during a break.

After a hard day’s work the group went out for ice cream in the lovely town of Shreve. Over ice cream the team made plans for the next day.

Day Two:

Another early start to beat the heat with less assembly required than the previous day. The first task was to untangle the mass of ropes and anchors that held the raft in place during coring. It was decided that burlap sacks of rocks for anchors would be needed for Greenland. The raft was towed out to the third and deepest basin for coring. Once the raft was in place and firmly anchored the team went to work using two different types of coring methods.

The coring team (Dr. Wiles, Dr. Lowell, Stephanie, and Bill) hard at work.

Meanwhile, in the geophysics boat, Sarah and Gianna switched places. Gianna was captaining the ship while Sarah was learning to use the sonar and computer programs. Gianna was excellent about teaching Sarah to use the equipment and answering her endless questions.

Stephanie awaiting the core hand off so she can wrap it up for transport back to the Sediment Core Analysis Lab.

Both groups worked until they heard thunder. Sarah and Gianna moved back to the third basin to tow in the raft. Fortunately the first thunderstorm missed the lake. The group arrived safely on shore and began to disassemble the equipment and reload the trucks and trailer. When the group was nearly done a torrential downpour ensued causing the group to scamper for cover in the cars and trailer, where they received the sever thunderstorm warning for the area. The down pour only lasted for a few minutes before the team was back to work with a renewed vigor to beat the next storm which they were sure was right behind the first one. Once the equipment was packed away and tied down the team headed for some much deserved ice cream.

Thraspberry Thrashing

June 14th, 2010

All of us by the Bartlett River.

guest blogger: Stephanie

It’s been a full week! On Monday, Justin (the captain) and Tom (captain of another boat who Justin was training for the Capelin) took all of us around to climate stations Dan maintains throughout the park to offload data and repair any snow/bear damage. We went up the West Arm and saw several beautiful glaciers. We stayed that night at the Russell Cove raft, a raft for researchers (not all of us fit…so we got to sleep on the island!). Greg found a new toy.

Greg, Deb, & Dan hard at work at a climate station.

The well-used "ursabahn" by one of the stations.

The Wooster flag in the West Arm.

Free ice! Justin nets a couple small icebergs for the cooler.

Home sweet home--the researchers' raft.

A new toy for Greg.

Tuesday the Capelin’s unidentified mechanical problems seemed to worsen, so the day was called off and Greg and I were dropped off at Sandy Cove. As we drove in, we scared a moose off the coast, and not long after a black bear came rolling long grazing on the grass. We got a late start (and subsequently a very late finish…) up Mount Wright. After about 4-5 hours of nothing in view but thorny brambles and devil’s club (which I am still picking out of my hands), we finally made it to the top of one of the ridges to find a beautiful landscape of karren limestone outcrops, snow, and mountain hemlocks. We made a quick side trip to the nearest top (~3000 ft) just for fun, looked down on a goat (always a good sign), and then got to work. It was 8 or 9 before we finished sampling, so we took an express route down and had a nice walk in the almost dark along the coast (every boulder looked like a bear…). Along the way we came across an awesome tufa waterfall, where the water was coming out through the limestone and precipitating (like in a cave). Unfortunately, it was too dark to get a good picture.

A welcome view.

Mushrooms! In the snow!

Steph at 3000 ft.

Greg at 3000 ft, with the Beardslees in the background.

The next day we walked along the river looking for interstadial wood (trees that were run over by glaciers and then buried). We didn’t find any, but we did find a good lunch spot, where we could ponder over the delta sediments the stream was cutting through and later piece it with the lake sediments farther up. The glacier, when it came down to the mouth of this valley, had blocked it off and formed a lake here.

An interesting outcrop (I know, I know, no scale. I think the bushes are ~4-6 ft.)

A relaxing lunch (we earned it!).

A nicely stuck boulder.

Meanwhile, Deb, Dan, and Justin were trying to get our boat situation worked out. The Capelin was pronounced ok, but quickly showed it wasn’t, and they were able to negotiate using a different one. The Petrel was much speedier than the Capelin, but required a ladder to get in and out on shore and didn’t like rough water very much. They met up with us at Sandy Cove on Wednesday and joined us in the ranger raft that was there (much like the researchers’ raft, without the star wars sheets…).

Thursday was another, very buggy, climate station, and then Gieke Inlet, where they had some radiocarbon dates on interstadial wood going back 3000 yrs. The particular outwash we were in had, according to Dan, been formed in a couple days of rain in November of 2005, so it was pretty rich with wood being weathered out.

Dryas patches in Gieke Inlet--the first plant to move in once the glaciers recede.

We came back to Gustavus Thursday night (showers!!!), and went out with Tom on Friday, again looking for interstadial wood. We went to Willoughby Island, where we found some really cool layers of peaty organics under gray silt/clay under gravely glacial sediments. Bad weather rolling in made it an early day, and that night we went to open mic night at the pizza place, where I realized just how much talent could be squeezed into a little town like Gustavus.

A stump (spruce, we think) in growth position at Willoughby Island.

Dan left Saturday morning, and more bad weather resulted in the calling off of our plans to go to Pleasant Island to look at Cedars stripped by the natives (the Tlingit). Instead, we went kayaking in the Beardlees and got hammered by some rain and hard wind. Much fun! The night was topped off by our housemates, sea otter researches with USGS, bringing back a huge king salmon they had caught (they forced me to try some…). Yesterday we made the trek up Excursion Ridge, where we got to see the new hydroelectric dam that is now powering Gustavus and do some slip and sliding on the steep snow patches. Got lots of good samples, and came back to find out the otter folks had caught another king salmon. They happily shared again :)

The dam that powers Gustavus.

Lunch...I'm sensing a pattern here...

Flowers! On the way up we came across several meadows and bogs.

A good view of Gustavus.

This morning, it’s back to Juneau. Mendenhall glacier is in the plans, as is a look around town. It’s back to Wooster on Wednesday.

Beartrack Mountain

June 6th, 2010

guest blogger: Stephanie

On Friday Justin, Capt. of the Capelin, dropped Greg and I off at Beartrack Cove. We hiked up (straight up!) to the Repeater Station (used for the park radio station), where we set up camp and then made our way a little further up to our study site. We cored a few trees that night, then melted some snow to make some delicious navy bean soup (courtesy of Fred Meyers in Juneau) and hot chocolate, and turned in. An early morning start to finish up the bulk of our sampling there, then it was back down (which didn’t take nearly as long as the up had, but resulted in much more soreness…) to meet the Capelin again. On the way back to Bartlett Cove, where the visitor station and park headquarters is, we saw sea lions, sea otters (one riding our waves on its back), whales, puffins, and porpoises (I didn’t get any good pictures of these, but I will try next time!).

The Capelin

A view from the way up. The line is where cloudy glacial runoff is meeting the incoming tide.

Beartrack repeater station

Fresh bear tracks on the way up to the site.

Sun coming through some clouds over the water.

Sun coming through the clouds over the water.

Where Greg would like to go... There is a tiny white speck up there--it's a goat!

The Beardslee Islands. You can see the repeater station below Greg.

Hanging a bear bag.

Soup!

and cold feet...

Mushrooms!

A little later and we would have some yummy strawberries.

A barnacle encrusted snail.

Beartrack from the boat. I think we were just the the left of that first small snow chute on the right.

We met up with Dan when we got back, and Deb Prinkey, ’01, a high school teacher in Mt. Vernon. Greg and Dan are finishing up a report for NSF right now, then it’s a short hike today and back out tomorrow.

Up to Alaska

June 4th, 2010

guest blogger: Stephanie

We arrived in Juno last night a little past 10 PM local time (that’s 2 AM for us…) after a long day of traveling, to be greeted by stuffed bears in the airport (awesome!). After spending a night in the lovely Breakwater Inn, we had an amazing breakfast at Donna’s, swung by the Mendenhall glacier in the Tongass National Forest, and then waited in the airport for Dan Lawson, of CRREL (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory).

The Breakwater Inn

Mount Juneau

The Mendenhall glacier

The "stream" at the hatchery. When spawning time comes, the salmon hatched here return.

Shopping followed, as did lunch and a quick trip to the salmon hatchery. Then it was back to the airport to catch our flight to Gustavus, which provided us with some awesome views of the inlets and mountains in the area.

Our plane!!

A cirque, a basin formed by a glacier, seen from our plane.

Once in Gustavus, we went on into Glacier Bay National Park to the headquarters to plan for the next few days and learn some bear safety tips. Tomorrow, it’s to the field!

Environmental Geology Fieldtrip – Soils/Geologic History and Groundwater

October 15th, 2009

The class at the No-Till experimental plots at the OARDC in Wooster. Stduents took soil cores from plots that were convnetionally tilled and those taht have not been tilled for 50 years. The soils and organin content in each of the soil cores clearly showed differences in soils structure and organ content

The class at the No-Till experimental plots at the OARDC in Wooster. Students took soil cores from plots that were conventionally tilled and those that have not been tilled for 50 years. The soil structure and organic content in each of the soil cores clearly showed the differences in the farming practices.

Richa took this spectacular shot of a recently-harvested soybean field. This shows the flay lake plain from Lake Killbuck and the underfit Killbuck River. The view to the north looks up the Killbuck Spillway. This field was stripped of a foot of fertile topsoil during the 1969 flood.

Richa took this spectacular shot of a recently-harvested soybean field. This shows the lake plain from Lake Killbuck and the underfit Killbuck River. The view to the north looks up the Killbuck Spillway. This field was stripped of a foot of fertile topsoil during the 1969 flood.

Rob and Palmer pose with coring device that they used to recover a sediment core from the bottom of the Killbuck River where is has downcut into the blue lake clay sediments. The blue clay is the confing layer of the Wooster buried valley aquifer.

Rob and Palmer pose with coring device that they used to recover a sediment core from the bottom of the Killbuck River where is has downcut into the blue lake clays. The blue clay is the confining layer of the Wooster buried valley aquifer.

Mike from the Wosoter water plant explains to the class the challenges of keeping Wooster's supplied with clean groundwater.

Mike from the Wooster water plant explains the challenges of keeping Wooster supplied with clean groundwater.

Processing the Lake Core (and Tree Cores)

October 13th, 2009

Earlier posts from the Climate Change class showed the students coring trees and a lake for the various analysis described below. The goals are to examine climate in Ohio since the last Ice Age as recorded in lake sediments and to determine how various tree species respond to changes in temperature and moisture.

Kelly and Adrian finish up the European Larch tree-ring chronology. The larch trees were sampled at the Secrest Arboretum in Wooster.
Kelly and Adrian finish up the European Larch tree-ring chronology. The larch trees were sampled at the Secrest Arboretum in Wooster.

Roz and Houston photographed the A and B core in their entirety - over 25 meters of mud.  Lower down in the post are three of their photos showing the variability in the sediment core.
Roz and Houston photographed the A and B sediment core taken from Long Lake located just south of Wooster. These core is over 14 meters of mud. Lower down in the post are three of their photos showing the variability in the sediment core.
masusc
Travis and Adonis collect magnetic susceptibility data on each of the thrusts
interdisc
This interdisciplinary team of English, Archaeology, History and Geology majors pick through the mud to locate organics for radiocarbon and to identify some of the flora and fauna in the mud such as seeds, charcoal, chironomids and fly wings

The is the base of the core - Late Glacial sands and gravel - at this horizon, Lindsey and Amanda  removed a stick that has been sent out for radiocarbon analysis.
The is the base of the core – Late Glacial sands and gravel, Lindsey and Amanda removed a stick from this interval that has been sent out for radiocarbon analysis. A date here will give a good estimate of when the region near Long Lake was deglaciated.
These laminated sediments represent the glacial-interglacial transition, which includes the glacial-Bolling-Allerod and Younger Dryas-Holocene transitions.
These laminated sediments represent the glacial-interglacial interval, which includes the Glacial-Bolling-Allerod and Younger Dryas-Holocene transitions.
The upper portions of the cre are primarily back, organic-rich muds with occasional loess layers - are these abrupt climate changes? The class is working on sorting all that out.
The upper portions of the core are primarily back, organic-rich muds with occasional loess layers – are these abrupt climate changes? The class is working on sorting all that out.
Rob and Bridgett picked this chironomid ffrom the 7th meter down in the core.
Rob and Bridgett picked this chironomid from the 7th meter down in the core.

Coring Round Lake – A Record of Post Glacial Change

September 26th, 2009

Dr. Tom Lowell and tow University of Cincinnati graduate students Estaben and Bill were kind enough to make the trip to Long Lake to help the Climate Change class extract two long (14 meter) sediment cores from the middle of the lake.

Dr. Tom Lowell and two University of Cincinnati graduate students, Esteban and Bill, were kind enough to make the trip to Long Lake to help the Wooster Climate Change class extract two long (14 meter) sediment cores from the middle of the lake.

The first step was to build the raft. Dr. Lowell (aka "the core boss") is in the trailer. Bill and Rob assemble the parts and pieces.

The first step was to build the raft. Dr. Lowell (aka "the core boss") is in the trailer. Bill and Rob assemble the parts and pieces.

Terry Workman (Archaeology major and course TA) drives the geophysical craft. Under the tarp os Esteban who is colecting bathymetric and seismic data. Based on these data a core site was chosen.

Terry Workman (our course TA) drives the geophysical craft. Under the tarp is Esteban who is collecting bathymetric and seismic data. Based on these data a core site was chosen.

The core boss gives us a short course on the operation of the coring platform. Dr. Lowell has custom-built this rig and he points out the automated coring system. A hydraulic system drives the Livingstone corer into and out of the mud.

The core boss gives us a short course on the operation of the coring platform. Dr. Lowell has custom-built this rig and he points out the automated coring system. A hydraulic system drives the Livingstone corer into and out of the mud.

Well into the Holocene - Esteban wraps up another meter of lacustrine sediment.

Well into the Holocene - Esteban wraps up another meter of lacustrine sediment.

Tom and Terry work the platform sending the piston corer down for another meter.

Tom and Terry work the platform sending the piston corer down for another meter.

The crew rows to shore. The class will now obtain organic material for radiocarbon dating and then the work begins analyzing a suite of parameters in the cores. Class members Lindsey and Amanda located a stick at the base of the core that has been sent for a radiocarbon age and should give us an estimate of the timing of deglaciation in the region. Will Hansen (red short) wil be using the upper part of the core together with our other collections from Round. O'Dell and Browns Lake for his Independent Study.

The crew rows to shore. The class will now obtain organic material for radiocarbon dating and then the work begins analyzing a suite of parameters in the cores. Class members Lindsey and Amanda located a stick at the base of the core, this has been sent for a radiocarbon age and should give us an estimate of the timing of deglaciation in the region. Will Hansen (red shirt) will be using the upper part of the core together with our other collections from Round, O'Dell and Browns Lake for his Independent Study.

Climate Change Class at Secrest Arboretum

September 24th, 2009

Adrian (Philosophy) and Kelly (Geology) core a European Larch for an ecological response study using tree-rings

Adrian (Philosophy) and Kelly (Geology) core a European Larch for an ecological response study using tree-rings. The class will compare how various trees are responding to climate variability over the last 100 years or so. The site is the Secrest Arboretum of Ohio State University's OARDC. We thank Ken Cochran, Director of the facility for permission to do this study.

Chesea and Adonic core a Norway Spruce

Chesea (Archaeology) and Adonis (Political Science) core a Norway Spruce

Houston and Roz sneak up on a Pondersosa Pine and obtain a core

Houston (Religious Studies) and Roz (Archaeology) sneak up on a Pondersosa Pine and obtain a core

Travis and Adrian at the OARDC Meteorolgical Station. After the class develops tree-ring chronologies they will compare the ring-width series to the long (>100 year) record of monthly temperature and precipitation records from this site.

Travis and Adrian at the OARDC Meteorological Station. After the class develops tree-ring chronologies they will compare the ring-width series to the long (>100 year) record of monthly temperature and precipitation records from this site.

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