News from the Field: Day 9--Water Chemistry and Water-Rock Interaction

Today was our water chemistry day. We began with a presentation by John on hydrology, magmatism, and hydrothermal interaction. Then, we demonstrated water sampling techniques in nearby Convict Creek and discussed both scientific and environmental implications of water research. We took a picnic lunch at Convict Lake, a mountain lake above the SNARL lab.  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--tomorrow is 'Recreation Day!

    May 30th
John starts the day with a (really interesting) lecture on hydrology and volcanic activity at Long Valley. 
John talks with the group while walking over  to Convict Creek.  The SNARL office building is in the background.
The group gets ready to make some observations of stream flow from a comfortable vantage point overlooking Convict Creek.
Mia models the latest fashion in waders! 
The group looks on as Mia takes the first set of streamflow measurements.
Ruben, Michael, and Renee record the streamflow measurements, as Brandy helps out with the data recording. 
Josh tries his on the camouflage waders--a perfect match with his field hat!.
John gets Josh started with the topset rod and flow meter.
Now he's off and running, as Michael records the data.
John and Sam look for Lily's field book, which has disappeared down the Convict watershed!
On to a delightful lunch at Convict Lake...
Brandy enjoys a moment of rest from the group's high-energy lunch.
Mia shares a dramatic reading of the unusual history of Convict Lake.
Next stop is the unusual hydrothermally altered lake sediments in Antelope Valley.

With a beautiful view of Antelope Valley and the high Sierra crest...
Mia takes notes on the outcrop, while demonstrating proper highway safety skills... 
Michael discovers a classic example of slickinsides --direct indicators of fault movement--along a fault zone in the lake sediments. 
What beautiful slickinsides--almost brings tears to your eyes!!
Our next stop is the Standard Industrial Minerals kaolin mine, where we'll examine some economically valuable products of hydrothermal alteration--kaolin deposits.
John gives some background on kaolin mining and mine products.
Mia records her observations...

Lily and Ruben demonstrate one of the unusual properties of kaolin--its super-absorbancy of water!

Lily and Kat discover another unusual property--incredibly gooey mud!

Debby demonstrates applications to the cosmetic industry?

Our next stop is the 'blue chert' deposits--associated with a hydrothermal vent on Long Valley's resurgent dome. John discusses hydrothermal 'sinter' deposits, and the economics of gold mining in the blue chert deposits.

Our last stop of the day is Hot Creek, where hydrothermal vents pour boiling water into the beautiful mountain stream.

Some of the impressive hot springs near the creek.

Is the group scared off by the Forest Service's warning signs?  Heck no!