Sunday, 4 March 2012

Finishing Wombat-- On to Lake Lilla (March 4th)

Today was a long day. We finished up with Wombat pool and packed all the gear down to Lake Lilla, which wasn't quite so bad, except that we had to do it in two trips, and the weather was not very conducive to keeping dry. Although the day before was rainy, today was especially wet, and windy, and colder. So, needless to say, we were not the happiest campers in the woods.
I feel this is a small sacrifice to pay in order to take these samples and exist in this sacred place. I have been feeling the power of this land since we got here, but today I felt it even more, and knew that I was meant to be here... in the cold, wet Button Grass (Gymnocheophus spharocephalus), building sample platforms and wrapping cores. My experience has been one of pure enjoyment and true gratefulness.
We were expecting, I think, to get good samples from this lake, but it turned out to be “not so good”. From what I understand, it's because the lakes in this area, and around Tasmania in general, are not that productive with concern to nutrients and sedimentation. This kind of surprised me, but made sense after some critical thinking and some explaining from Simon, who I've realized is kind of like the Indian Jones of lake coring. Anyway, we ended up spending hours upon hours trying to find a good coring location, and then some more hours trying to get a proper core. Fortunately, we finally did get a good core, one of the best ones yet. It had glacial clays and showed clear stratification. I felt my heart jump when I saw this.
I've noticed my excitement levels have been skyrocketing with every bit of new information I learn about paleoecology. Once I began to understand how you can look into the past with a sediment layer, my mind raced with the possible research applications. I thought of how we can look into the past and begin to understand plant/human relationships through fire and pollen, then to correlate these findings with cultural knowledge and historical memory. I am having a great time learning about this vital area of study.

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