07 June 2009

Return to Salt Landscape Cave

Day 2 of Field Operations (06 June 2009)

Image: Some of the salt speleothemic formations within Salt Landscape Cave.

The mapping team remained in town today. They had two days slotted for mapping Quitor, and were able to map this cave in one day. They had some issues with the instrumentation, and wanted to resolve these issues. There were some magnetic anomalies in Quitor that were causing some of the instruments to produce erroneous results; so, Dan and the others wanted to determine why this was happening. They ultimately found a work around to this.

Image: Cool salt stalactite within lower entrance, Salt Landscape Cave.

Lynn, Tim and I went to Salt Landscape Cave to pull sensors. It was great to return to the field Cordillera de los Andes. The vistas were just as are otherworldly as ever. Lazcar (the only active volcano in the region) was slowly piping smoke into the sky, and the clouds hugged the mountains and volcanoes of the Altiplano throughout the day.

Salt Landscape Cave was rather difficult to manage last year. We spent three days at this cave searching for the other two of the entrances. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful. As a result, we were able to deploy sensors in two of four entrances. Also, we were unable to get through the entire cave given that it was incredibly tight in several areas. So, we decided to pull sensors and use these additional sensors to supplement coverage at our study caves.

Image: Tim collecting coordinate data for one of our surface sensors outside Salt Landscape Cave.

We returned to San Pedro early today, and began entering data. This project will involve both field work and a major data entry component. We’ll be spending most nights entering and analyzing data. Although this is only day to of field operations, we are proving to be far more productive than we were last year, and we are right on schedule.

Image: Lynn with the Salt Landscape in the background. It was another beautiful day in the driest desert in the world!

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