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California State University, Long Beach
CSULB Geospatial Research and Mapping (GRAM) Field Program
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Daily Blog for Courtney

Presentation Day

Posted on July 2, 2012 by Courtney

Today we started our day in the classroom at NTBG. We worked on some data analysis and prepared our presentations for the night. After that we went to collect more data at Allerton. We tied the Loggers and the GPS to the long boards and sent them off. Ali was also able to collect samples in the area. At the end of the day, we returned the long boards and then headed back to the house. We ate dinner and then got ready for presentations. It was really great to be able to see what everyone else is working on. It looks like we are going to be seeing some very interesting projects!

Dealing with Data

Posted on June 27, 2012 by Courtney

Today we spent all day in the lab processing data. I am working with the temperature and conductivity data. I was working on condensing and combining data today. I linked the GPS coordinates with the temperature and conductivity data retrieved from the Loggers. We had many different data collection methods including: data from the Outrigger canoes, the fishing boat, the long boards, and snorkeling. I’m working on organizing the data so that we can get it onto a map and try to interpolate the data to show any changes in temperature and conductivity.

Data Collection

Posted on June 27, 2012 by Courtney

Today we did data collection out in the field. We spent time looking for bays because we felt that we were more likely to find groundwater discharge in these areas. We traveled on some rough roads, and once we got out in the areas where we were doing our data collection, we set things up. You learn the importance of proper knot tying techniques and duck tape when you are setting up. One we set up the Loggers and tied them properly to the long boards, Ali and I got the GPS units situated in dry bags and paddled out in the bay to gather temperature and conductivity data. It was a pretty windy day and I drank a little bit of sea water, but I think we collected some very important data.

At the next bay we changed up our technique. Kelley and Alison collected the data holding onto the loggers and the GPS units as they went snorkeling through the bay. It was a long day out in the sun so tomorrow we will be taking the new data into the lab to work on some data processing.

In the garden

Posted on June 26, 2012 by Courtney

Today we took a break from the sun and worked on data processing. We worked in the classroom at NTBG. The hydrology group and the vegetation group shared the room. It was great to see all these minds coming together to work on their research. Everyone was willing to help each other out and we were able to hear all the great ideas that people have for projects.

For lunch we stepped right outside to an amazing view of the garden. It was really refreshing and motivating. We worked hard at the computers for a while longer and then we were able to take another great tour of the garden where we were able to see some things that we didn’t see before. I felt that it was a very productive day.

Sea Turtles

Posted on June 26, 2012 by Courtney

Today was our Zodiak tour on the Na Pali Coast. Being out on the ocean in those boats was great! When we arrived, we took a tour of the different archeological sites. One thing that struck me was the information about the well. The well collects water in three different ways: one from tapping into the groundwater, two from rainwater runoff, and three from condensation off the rocks. I was later able to help Dr. Burney pump water from the restored well into a tank which is now used to irrigate native plant species.

They were also able to use this fancy tool in the field to check for sites where there might be different artifacts. We assisted them by clearing out the logs and large rocks in the way of the machine. On the other end of the beach, they were working on getting areal imagery of the place. The kite was having some trouble because there was a lack of wind, but they were able to fly the plane.

After lugging gear around and working to help out all the different groups, it was very nice to take a dip in the ocean. We snorkeled around in the area and we were able to see sea turtles! It was amazing! Then to top it off we were able to go on a really great hike which overlooked the beautiful ocean and majestic cliffs.

I am so happy that I was able to be a part of this experience!

Waimea Canyon

Posted on June 24, 2012 by Courtney

Today we visited Waimea Canyon. We discussed some of the geologic features within the canyon. We talked about the different soil and the erosion features. It was a beautiful place! We were also able to look at some of the native plant species and we got to hear the legend behind one of the plants. It was really cool.

We finished the day off by snorkeling and barbequing at the beach. It was a great day!! And I think this down time really got us ready for the work ahead. I’m really excited for what comes next!

Boat Ride

Posted on June 24, 2012 by Courtney

Today we got up before the sun to get ready for our boat ride. We went out on the boat at about 6 AM to collect data about the temperature and conductivity of the water at different locations using the Loggers and GPS. It was rough waters and not everyone did so well with the boat rocking, but we collected important data for our projects. Alison took pictures of the coast line, Ali collected water samples, and I checked for changes in temperature as we traveled along the coast. When we got back we still had quite a day ahead of us.

After the boat we went back to the house to work on some data analysis.  We were looking at the changes in salinity and temperature. The goal is to see if we can identify groundwater plumes. I was working on creating an attribute table which would show all the necessary information and mapping out the points of the data which we gathered. One positive outcome was that we saw lower levels of conductivity in the harbor. This was expected because there is a freshwater outlet there. This tells us that the Loggers were working properly. We had a very good day!!



Posted on June 22, 2012 by Courtney

Today we began our day in the classroom of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. We got spectral readings from the rock samples we collected yesterday. We had a little bit of trouble with the spectrometer, but it was nice to be out in the sun as we took our readings. After we took the water samples we collected from the Makauwahi Cave and tested out the Loggers. The Loggers record the temperature, pressure, and conductivity of the water. We recorded that data into an excel file.

Later on in the day, we met with the Outrigger team who assisted us in our data collection. We tied the Loggers onto the boats during their practice, and then we got to paddle ourselves as well. We took one of the Loggers on our boat which stayed closer to the shoreline. We used the data collected from our boats to ensure that the readings were coming up correctly. We saw differences in temperature and conductivity in the area where we were paddling which was expected because there was a freshwater outlet there. This was a good sign because it meant the Loggers were working correctly. The Loggers placed on the Outriggers of the team showed much more variation in conductivity than temperature. This was a very interesting find.

We also discussed more about individual projects. I will be working on a map which will show the different temperatures and the conductivity of the water along the coast to see if based on the data we collect we can identify groundwater plumes. I am excited to get out on a boat tommorrow to collect more data.


Posted on June 22, 2012 by Courtney

Today was a good day of data collection. We began our day in Makauwahi Cave where we took water samples from the sink hole and recorded the temperature and salinity of the water. We hiked down the coast collecting samples and discussing the different rock formations. Along the way, we numbered and recorded the samples, described where they were taken from, took a picture of the place, and recorded the GPS location. We ended the day by taking a dip in the ocean which felt great after a long day of hiking in the heat. Later on that night, we looked at World View Imagery to see which spectral bands best reflect the different lithologies.


Posted on June 20, 2012 by Courtney

Today we got to explore in Makawaki Cave described as a “Poor man’s time machine.” Dr. Burney explained how his research in the cave has revealed a lot of information about the past. I think it is great how some scientific stories are able to match up with family stories from different people on the island. The mystery and wonder which comes out of the cave is striking. Caves really are geologic wonders. This cave tells us about the depositional environment of certain layers and also about large events which have occurred in the past.

Our focus on the “Hydrology Team” is the groundwater of Kauai. On our tour of the cave, Dr. Burney mentioned that the fact that the groundwater is highly acidic has resulted in the erosion of these solidified sand dunes from within. This cave is a great resource for us as we research the groundwater because it intersects with the water table. Dr. Becker has taken measurements for the conductivity and temperature there. We have taken a look at the different layers of strata, and it’s clear that we will need to start gathering more data and information.

After dinner tonight, we attended a lecture on the geology of Kauai given by Dr. Charles T. Blay. It was very solid information. He explained more about the phenomena of groundwater sapping. He also talked about different rock densities and other factors which influence erosion. The thing that stood out to me was the talk about how during the summer, the winds tend to hit where our study area is located. I think the weather conditions are giving us examples of certain obstacles that come up when conducting field research. I think that this is a great learning experience because it gives you a opportunity to think on your feet and figure out a way to resolve different issues.

We did gain a new resource to use, a geologic map by Dr. Blay. The goal now is to take the map, scan it, georeference it, and apply it to our field studies. I look forward to an exciting day out in the field tomorrow!

About Courtney

I am Courtney Fiamengo. I am a senior at California State University Dominguez Hills majoring in Earth and Environment.