Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Geophysics Field Camp Week Four: Onwards, Upwards

The view as our caravan left Pagosa Springs, CO

"Remember this moment," Dr. Hale said to us at the end of the final presentation. "There have been only a few times in my life where the geophysics gives something completely unexpected."

We did it. We survived Colorado School of Mines Geophysics Field Camp. And in style, too, as our professors, industry people, and our beloved department head said it was the best Geophysics Field Camp they had seen in their years at Mines. All the early mornings and those two late nights and the weird weather and the orange vests and wanting to kill our classmates and loving our classmates to death and funk music and spilled coffee and being annoyed at geophysics and being convinced that geophysics is awesome went into those four weeks. And in the end, it an incredible experience.

It is such a privileged to be able to do geophysics in every stage of its process on an area that no one has seen down in the subsurface before. "You're right, this isn't Kafadar Commons anymore," Andrei said to me after we got so excited from the preliminary seismic section. Doing geophysics on Kafadar is incredibly uninteresting, when it comes to the subsurface. Doing geophysics on the unknown is exciting. It's like being an explorer.

Here I am getting ready to drive and operate the vibroseis truck.
Andrei is in the background, waiting for me to hurry up. 

People hate airports and fly all the time, but for me, it never gets old. I rolled to the United terminal and the sign above me advertised Mines. As if it needs my attention some more.

Where is the water coming from? Where is the water going? Two important questions when doing a geothermal investigation.

Where are we coming from? Mines.  And before that, other various places that all combined to lead us to here.

Where are we going? 


"So how does it feel to officially be a senior?" Michelle, the Geophysics Department assistant asked at the End-Of-Field-Session BBQ right after our final presentation.

I responded with 10% sarcasm: "It's surreal. I feel like this year and field session have all culminated in my geophysical journey though Mines as a sort of rite of passage to make us seniors."

"But now there's Senior Year..."

"Yeah. But in all seriousness, as I told Austin earlier, we've made it through Junior Year, and now we've made it through Field Camp. We can do anything."


I actually ate breakfast that morning at the airport. I never eat breakfast other than coffee. While I finished my sandwich, the television report showed something about California Chrome. I laughed. California Chrome was the name of Craig's (one of the TAs) van. I guess Field Camp held some fun times.

I was exhausted. My brain had been going non-stop since...well, January. The swift transition from school to Field Camp to summer internship had left me no time for processing (mental processing, not data processing). Even while going through security my brain did not fully comprehend that those four weeks were over, and I was moving on to Massachusetts for my summer internship. I was so glad that Field Session was over. And thinking back, I was pretty miserable academically right before that, yearning for Field Session to start. I had spent my time looking forward to things ending. I even dreamed about graduating during those four weeks.

Where am I coming from? I knew this.

Where am I going?

I buckled up and sat for a while, waiting for the plane to take off. It began rolling. It began rolling slightly faster. Then it pivoted onto the runway. It stopped. Then, WHOOOOSHH! 

It was then when I realized where I was going; where my classmates were going.

Onwards, upwards.

The 2014 Colorado School of Mines Geophysics Field Camp (photo by Dawn)