08 February 2009

Jagged lava and shoes don't mix

31 January 2009

Image: In addition to serving as our "Papa Bear," Queeg was responsible for setting up, as well as making modifications to our instruments.

Today, Russ and Liz Harter came to check on our progress. Russ has been investigating the caves in this part of the Mojave since the early 1960s. He has been quite an asset to our project. He and I have been collaborating since the 2006 Mojave Expedition with NASA Spaceward Bound!.

Tim and Jut have a major breakthrough! We found a trench that contains four non-cave features! The beauty of selecting this site is that all these shallow alcoves have different aspects.

Image: Russ Harter. Russ is a collaborator on this project. He is a geologist with over 30 years experience working on this flow. We are very fortunate to have him on our team.

Dan’s team began mapping Bumble Bee Cave. He anticipates it will take a couple of days to complete this cave.

Tim and I returned to Bumble Bee Cave to deploy sensors in the cave’s interior. Once finished, we trekked across the Aa Aa flow to Binny Cave.

Image: The gear of a cave cartographer. Note the toes of the boots are wearing thin. The Aa Aa lava is no friend to boot or shoe. Credit: Dave Decker.

This type of lava is jagged and sharp. Aa Aa forms when the lava is flowing slowly. It cools forming very rough terrain. One can only traverse Aa Aa lava in a mindful state. This type of lava is generally loose, and falling on Aa Aa would be most unpleasant.

Image: Tim collecting GPS data for the entrance of Binny Cave.

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