Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Once more into the field......

It's June. The mosquito larvae have transformed into the adult bloodsucking fiends....so it must be nearly time to go back into the field. The mosquitoes must be hungry for the blood of an Englishmen.....again. Last year I must have single-handedly boosted the Culicid population for the whole of South Dakota....I am sure this year will be no different. Whilst my colleagues work unaffected by the beasties that bite and suck, I am like a walking target and blood donor rolled into one.
Bleak but beautiful, the Badlands of the Hell Creek Formation
We will have a smaller team in the field this year, around 6-9 folks. We hope to survey and record our new site that we discovered last field season. This will entail laser-scanning the whole outcrop....using a fancy new laser surveying device, called a LiDAR, short for Light Detection And Range. This one is being loaned to me, so we have to look after it... especially as replacing it might cost $80,000....yikes.
Using a LiDAR laser scanning unit in Fumanya (Spain) to track dinosaurs.
We have already used LiDAR before to map track sites and even to 'weigh' dinosaurs, or at least measure their volume from mounted skeletons and then calculate their body mass with a simple bit of arithmetic. This technology has multiple uses in the field this year, but its primary function is to provide a 3-dimensional digital outcrop model that we can plan all the major excavation, environmental impact and site remediation with for next year. We can also place all the data we collect this year, into a fancy 3D model, providing us with a chunk of virtual Hell Creek Formation to visit from the comfort of our office's in UPenn and Manchester....where there are NO mosquitoes.
Dinosaur!......What Dinosaur?
As with last year, I will endeavor to keep a daily fieldwork diary for one and all to experience the heat, bugs, exhaustion and sheer delight of plucking beasties from the Earth.

1 comment:

  1. Rock on Phil. I am there with you all in spirit "cheaper to feed me that way". Hope all goes well.