More preparations for the field

Katie Joy | 27 Nov 2018

We are within a month or so now of our first field season, and are wrapping up the many final preparations before we pack our bags and head down to Heathrow airport to catch our planes south. Things on the agenda before we leave include:

  • Loading up our GPS systems with maps of the regions we are visiting. We will need this information to track ground coverage in the meteorite searches and to plan for in field traverses to access the different field sites
  • Making sure we have enough batteries for our electronic equipment. Batteries really don’t hold charge well in the sorts of cold temperatures we will be working in (probably at least -20 degrees C). Therefore, we need to make sure we have enough spares of the right type all packed up and ready to hand carry. We have a lot of electronic equipment from cameras, to GPSs, to thermometers and laptops, so there is a lot of prep to do to make sure we have backups and backstops to our backups.
  • Testing a portable magnetic susceptibility field probe, built by our colleagues at Centre Européen de Recherche et d’Enseignement des Géosciences de l’Environnement (CEREGE) in Aix-en-Provence France. We will use this device in the field to assess the magnetic susceptibility and conductivity of any samples we are unsure are really meteorites or not. We have a set of test meteorites in Manchester (different types of stones, different sizes and masses) that PhD student Tom Harvey is trailing across different temperature regimes.
  • We have been teaching Geoff how to collect a meteorite following our pre-defined field procedures. Geoff and Mike’s team are heading to Sky Blu, which is a rock free ice runway site and are not really anticipating that there will be many if not any meteorites in this location as it doesn’t really conform to the types of sites we expect meteorites to be concentrated. However, in anticipation of a serendipitous discovery, Geoff will be taking a small field kit with him to collect any meteorite samples the team might come across during their equipment testing campaign.
  • Printing out copies of all our documents so we have spares in case our laptops decide not to wake up in the cold tents!
  • Meeting with students and colleagues that we won’t be seeing for a month or more to check that our research projects and students will be going on fine whilst we are away…

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