Friday, December 21, 2012

Once upon a time in a land far away ..

 The Internet Cafe.

Drifting off in bed with the door open, watching the lightning flash overhead and the plashing of warm drops of rain. Alex Fillipenko discoursing on the wonders of the cosmos.

 A rookie Geo from the Uni of Cardif two days into his first job. I would say he was born to this life.

 This guy already well wise to the ways of the bush - he put me onto Ardbeg.
 The blue is copper sulphate evaporite.
 This moth is not much smaller than a humming bird, it's proboscis about three inches long.
Natalie has a way with curries.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

SOPS Travel Planning.

The person who was going into the field in conjunction with the office defining "on paper" the route they are taking to get to their destination and the estimated time of travel between way points. This plan is then agreed with a "responsible person" who gets a copy of the travel plan and the agreed schedule of contacts (times and places) along route would be made. If a scheduled contact is not made then it becomes the responsible person's role to act according to the company's emergency plan.

We are still working out an emergency plan and we will be doing that by agreeing to contact AMSA at a prearranged trigger time based on the actual sortie. In the fullness of time we will standardise this if appropriate.

The trip details along with the contact of the responsible person will be registered with AMSA.

The communication equipment and survival equipment carried is also on the travel plan along with the planned usage.

ELB. A GME Emergency Locator Beacon. It is approved for use in aircraft and registered with AMSA. In the event I have to hike this unit is compact enough to fit in a crib bag and will be with me where ever I am.

Sat Phone - number in Travel Plan. Always on and tested before departure.

UHF - set to Channel 40 or client's frequency (or scan). Always on and tested before or soon after departure.

Water, shelter (swag) and food for two days or whatever is appropriate.  

Take breaks every two hours of driving and have a cup of.

Journeys not preagreed to be "Remote" - Note that position reporting needn't be restricted to remote areas however a simple verbal commitment to, for instance "send an SMS when I change flights at airport XYZ" ,once made, must be adhered to.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Where to stay in Wiluna

It can be difficult to suss out where to stay in some of the more ramshakle towns. Gunbarrel Laager is the go in Wiluna. Mal is the chap that runs the place - absolute gem of a guy. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

John Renton Replies


The reason why the concept of time is not a major part of the course is because it was supposed to concentrate on the physical aspects of Earth. I read your "trip through time" and found it a perfect example of how an everyday experience can be used to convey the concept of dark time. In order to accomplish that feat, one must use a common experience. One that I have used when I taught historical geology employed a roll of Scott toilet paper. Actually, the idea didn't originate with me; I sort of stole the idea. The Scott people claim a roll of their toilet paper it consists of 1000 sheets. I must admit that I took their word for it, not wanting to spend my time to check to see if it does indeed contain the specified number of sheets. In any case, with 1000 sheets, every sheet represents 4.5 million years. Then the fun begins,. One sheet represents the entire time of human existence on the planet. Homo sapiens showed up about a half sheet ago with the written word going back 1/10 of a sheet. I suppose one could contemplate all that when one while taking part in ones daily constitutional.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Deep Time

James Hutton was one of the early pioneers of Geology. During the beginnings of the scientific revolution scientists were just begining to understand the processes that were gradually building the earth's surface. When they saw how slowly those changes progressed and the vast scale of the landscapes those tiny changes eventually lead to, it seemed too incredible to be true.  It was starting to dawn on Hutton and his contemporaries how immensely old the earth must be.

Hutton's 1788 paper concludes; "The result, therefore, of our present enquiry is, that we find no vestige of a beginning,–no prospect of an end."

Back then figures were being bandied about in the tens of millions of years. Fast forward to Becquerel and the discovery of radioactivity. This gives us the double whammy of being able to explain, firstly,  how the sun and the earth stayed hot for so long, and also, enabled us to date the planet precisely, using little clocks built into the fabric of matter itself.

Deep Time was here to stay -  4.6 BILLION years !

As humans however we struggle to visualise such a gaping chasm of time. Think about how your perception of time progresses. Years are remembered in flashes and minutes can telescope into eternity. The concept of time is probably one of the most unreliable senses we Humans have.

In order to try to grasp this concept I once amused myself, whilst driving from Kalgoorlie to Cloncurry along the Birdsville track with this thought experiment ;

Imagine every millimetre represents a year as you trundle along in the Toyota Troopcarrier "Time Machine".

You can span a man's life time with your hand.

The event that marked the catastrophe at the Tertiary Cretaceous boundary - a whacking great asteroid smacking into the planet. A blinding flash of light like an atom bomb, only vastly bigger, then plunging the planet into dust and darkness and killing off the dinosaurs. This would be over in the actual blink of your eye.

You then work out where, along the road of geological history, each event would be located.

Take the early Proterozoic Eon for example. Prior to this there was no Oxygen in the atmosphere.  Blue Green algae similar to the Shark Bay stromatolites, began the neat trick of photosynthesis.  One tiny relentless little bubble after the next as , little by little, entire oceans rusted into what would eventually become mountains of Iron Ore in the Pilbara. Took 'em a while but they eventually got around to it.

You get the idea now ? I wont spoil it for you because working it out is half the fun and makes the exercise all the more compelling.

This is one long road trip.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lucky Bay

An Integra Site near Mt Monger

Salt Lake evaporating into cubic halite crystals.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The Old Hurculese Mine at Williamsford. Was once a fully operationg mine in the 80s with a haulway where this little track up the hill is now. 

Lake Cumberland is at the top of this hill.

T Tree thicket between Trial Harbour and Zeehan

 Mum and Dad