News from the Field: Day 10--Water Chemistry and Water-Rock Interaction

Today was our chemistry day. We began with a presentation by Bob Jellison, a limnologist (SNARL's surface water expert) on water quality research in the eastern Sierra Nevada. He demonstrated water sampling techniques in nearby Convict Creek and discussed both scientific and environmental implications of his research. After lunch on the resurgent dome, John led a discussion on the origin and evolution of hydrothermal waters. On to Antelope Valley for an opportunity to view the products of hydrothermal alteration of volcanic rock. We visited an exposure of altered lake sediments, an active kaolin mine, and an unusual exposure of 'blue chert', a fossil hot spring rich in gold ore. We ended our day with a delightful dip in the boiling waters of the aptly-named Hot Creek. Dinner back at the ranch, and an early evening--we'll be up at the crack of dawn for McGee Creek and Monitor Pass tomorrow.

    May 19th
Bob Jellison, SNARL's resident limnologist,  prepares to take the class out to Convict Creek. 
 Bob gives the class a little background while standing on a walkway over Convict Creek.
Daniel, Chris and Esther learn how to use a stream flowmeter (nice boots, Chris!).
Daniel models the latest fashion in waders! 
Chris, Lauren, Ganesh and Dan record measurements as Daniel takes the first set of streamflow measurements.
Everyone studiously records the streamflow measurements, with the top of Mt. Morrison in the background. 
Daniel takes the final measurements with Esther's help.
Bob shows how to filter water for nutrient analysis.
Jake is not impressed with all the streamflow data the class took!
After lunch, John illustrates how hydrothermal waters are generated (or is he playing Pictionary with Megan?).
The group stops in Antelope Valley to discuss how kaolin deposits form as a result of intense hydrothermal alteration.
Ganesh examines the kaolin up close.
Our next stop is the Standard Industrial Minerals kaolin mine, where Michael tries to trade vehicles!
Megan sings, "Stop in the name of Kaolin!"
Lauren, Esther and Megan discuss mechanisms of gold mineralization, sitting on an outcrop of beautiful blue chert, with the Sierras in the background.
The last stop of the day--the beautiful valley of Hot Creek, with active steam vents visible in the background 
Is this group fazed by the warning signs? Heck no! 
Welcomed by the colorful natives, the gang decides to test out the thermal waters of Hot Creek
Daniel and Michael have an unusual allergic reaction to the Hot Spring water!