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CSULB Geospatial Research and Mapping (GRAM) Field Program
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Daily Blog for Julianna Aguilar

Day 27: It’s see you later

Posted on June 29, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

I don’t want to say goodbye. This experience has been amazing, I’ve learned so much and I’ve made lifetime friends for sure! The first week in Long Beach was one of the most intense weeks I’ve ever had, but it was so worth it. Everything we dipped our feet in that first week, we delved into here in Oahu. The comradery that has come of these past few weeks is exceptional. I’ve never met a group of people who have been so ready to help anyone and everyone. Pablo, Briton, Emily, and Michelle have been the best TA’s ever!!

I hope I can implement everything I’ve learned here back at school and get people pumped about geography by telling the stories of the amazing moments we’ve all had!

Thanks to the professors CSULB, NSF, and Kualoa Ranch!

Now time to pack.

Day 26: Presentations!

Posted on June 29, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

Yesterday was presentation day and everyone was amazing! After stressing the past few days over completing our projects it was such a relief to finally stand up and present our research. The morning was spent cleaning up our data and preparing our power points. It was so nice to see everyone dress up in civilian clothes! No more burred field work pants for us! Michelle pow wowed with me about how I should present my findings, which was a great help! Thanks Michelle!

In the early afternoon Howard, Gordan, and I moved downstairs and practiced our presentations with each other. It was great getting feedback from them and it really helped for when we actually had to present a few hours later. We stuck to our 10 minute limit, and were out of Kualoa Ranch around 5. After the presentations we took a few pictures and headed over to Haleiwa Joe’s for dinner. The restaurant was gorgeous!

Back at the barn we continued to clean up our data, for the data dump and finish up with last minute work. The rest of the night was spent hanging out, dancing, and swimming. I am going to miss everyone so much.

Day 25: Working on a barn

Posted on June 28, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

Wrapping up our last lab day is bitter sweet. We’ve all become such awesome friends and have really helped each other out with finishing up our projects. Today I finished writing my paper, all that’s left is citing and formatting. I also touched base with Dr. Becker about my power point, he helped me refine it and I’m down to 13 slides! I’m pretty exhausted from sitting and looking at a screen all day so I apologize for such a short blog. Tomorrow will consist of editing papers and running through power points.


Day 24: Wrapping things up

Posted on June 27, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

Sixteen hours later today has come full circle from a lab day to a lab night. Morning started off slow as I tried to piece together all of my thoughts into a paper. It was approaching lunch time and I hadn’t gotten too far along with piecing together my research. Jessica suggested I create my power point before writing the paper, that way I could visualize what I would talk about during my presentation and the writing would come easier. I took her advice and have been working on perfecting my maps since then. Here is a snapshot of what my power point will look like!


I am very excited for tomorrow, I can see my project coming closer to being somewhat realized! Around dinner time I felt a block coming on and thoughts of presenting an unfinished investigation of groundwater submergence and emergence filled my poor little head. I was convinced I would be presenting an inconclusive study. After speaking to Dr. Becker, Emily, and Michelle it became clearer that I did have enough data to back up my initial reasoning. I guess sometimes it just takes other peoples input to be fully satisfied with what you already have.

Tomorrow I will be finishing up my power point and completing my paper. Hopefully there’s enough time to practice before we present this Friday.

Day 23: Last Field Day

Posted on June 25, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

Today started bright and early, some of the hydro group walked over to Dr. Becker’s house to talk about what we would be doing for the day. After having a small pow wow I headed off into the valley, I would begin collecting data near Atlantis. My idea was to recollect some points along the stream channel in order to correct my stream profile. Both fortunately and unfortunately it began to rain! My trimble wasn’t picking up enough satellites to produce a better stream profile so I gave up on that idea. Instead I walked the channel and took notes and pictures of what was happening since the water had actually risen. The closer I got to the area where the water ‘disappears’ the more nervous I got. One of the possible answers to my question is simply that there isn’t enough water flowing through the stream channel to keep a consistent amount of water above ground.


To a great surprise I walked into the disappearing area and found a flowing stream vanish! This is great news because it solidifies the idea that there is some other phenomenon working around the area that is causing the water to go underground. But the question remains, why!? I walked back to base camp and found Kerry and James. James was about to collect some data for his project so I accompanied him, as it is hard to collect and record data.

Dr. Becker was back in the valley and it was finally my turn to use the GPR! After walking around the area near the geologic contact point we soon realized the GPR wasn’t going to work. The ground penetration wasn’t picking up things clearly enough for what we were looking for. So we decided that the visible contact point was enough for the purposes of my research.

I ended the field day by Narnia, making sure the water was still reappearing in the same general area, and it was. The only peculiarity was that the amount of water wasn’t as different as it was deeper into the valley.

Tomorrow will be the day I put together all of my data. Hopefully I can come up with some kind of conclusion!

Day 22: Lab Day

Posted on June 25, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

Today was spent at the lab processing the data I’ve been able to find throughout these past few days. I began playing with the DEM to try to get the water channel to become more visible. After a few attempts I decided on weighing the Z factor by 3 which finally gave me the results I needed to view the water channel.

I was also able to get a hold of the lidar data which showed the elevation difference to a clearer extent, but I’m unsure if it’s enough to change any of the data I’ve already collected. Speaking of, I think I’m going to walk the water channel tomorrow to try to obtain better Z values so that my longitudinal stream profile is accurate.

After sorting through the soil layer’s attributes I was able to find water table depth throughout the valley. I was a little disappointing because the map didn’t really show any promise in becoming a suspect in the water channel mystery. I was hoping I’d see some sort of change in depth in the area where the water comes back to the surface, but the depth is shown to be the same. It was also helpful to see that the characteristic of the southern side of the stream was terrace and the northern side alluvial fan. Looking at the points I collected last week overlayed on the geologic map showed the stream carving into the terraced side, which makes sense. Although, I can’t really count on this being certain, because I’m unsure of the precision of this map.

There is talk that tomorrow will finally be my day to use GPR! Hopefully things go as planned! This little guy has been hanging out with me for the past hour!

Day 21: Sunday Funday

Posted on June 24, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

Yesterday was a free day! Kerry, Jessica, Peter, Greg, Howard and I drove around the island twice!

Day 20: Discussions

Posted on June 24, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

Saturday I wasn’t able to spend the day using GPR, but I was able to walk the main stream channel with Dr. Becker. I was beginning to feel a little confused as to what my methodology needed to be to come closer to solving my mystery.  We talked about comparing the topography and geology of the valley surrounding the stream channel and deciding which factor had more contribution to the disappearing act. After a few hours of note taking and conversation  we headed back to base camp and watched some UAVs fly.

That evening we sat down and had an informal discussion on how everyone was coming along with their projects and what they would need to accomplish in the following week. After dinner we celebrated Cole’s Golden Birthday!

Day 19: Barn turned library

Posted on June 22, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

I started the day with the intentions of going to the field to begin working with GPR, but the offshore hydrology team had first dibs. Once I decided I’d be staying home, things started to come together. I spent the majority of the day researching literature for what I thought I’d be focusing on in the next few days, which is GPR data and techniques as it pertains to soils. I found some very interesting articles that confirmed GPR would serve as a reputable source of categorizing different types of soil according to their ability to hold water. I also downloaded more data, thanks to Thomas who graciously shared his geologic findings of the different alluvium. With the new layers I’ve added I’m positive there’s a correlation between the geology and what’s happening to the stream when it ‘disappears.’ Tomorrow I will be working with Dr. Becker trying to find the perfect spot to utilize the GPR and hopefully produce data that will show what the geology is doing underground.

Day 18: Turn that frown upside down!

Posted on June 21, 2013 by Julianna Aguilar

This morning was spent at Dr. Becker’s house where we continued to try to change the unit of measure for our Z values but where unsuccessful. We walked up to the staging area in the field and were able to catch Dr. Weschler before she began her own project. After explaining to her our problems she quickly knew what to do. The answer to our conversion dilemma was so easy! All we had to do was choose a different dropdown option in the pathfinder software we download our trimble points to! The joys of this success were quickly canceled out because many of the points were still wrong. We hiked back down to Dr. Becker’s house with Paul and after looking at our data he suggested going back out into the field to recollect the worst points. After arriving to our first ‘recollection point location’ it was decided that the trimble may be faulty and we should try to collect points using a different unit. We hiked back to the staging area, grabbed a different trimble and collected our points.

Before dinner I was able to download many useful shapefiles from the state of Hawaii site. I have to say I was a little discouraged with how the day turned out, many of our data points were deemed unusable, and I still couldn’t figure out a correlation between any of the data we’d collected and what I was seeing. After a great spaghetti dinner I was able to pull Dr. Weschler and Emily aside and start downloading our new data points and the shapefiles I had found. To a joyful surprise I started to see the correlations between the data! There are three aquifers within the Ka’a’awa valley, and three dikes. We’ve been able to confirm two and will look for the third tomorrow. The stream disappears very close to the point were two of the aquifers divide, and if we can prove this with GPR my research project will have become amazing! The point where the stream disappears seems a little far off from the aquifer split but Emily and I are assuming the water isn’t going as far because there simply isn’t enough. That is it hasn’t rained enough. All in all, it is very exciting to see these trends in the data and really feel like I’m doing something. It is also super cool that James, Courtney, and my own research projects seem to overlap so in the end we will answer many of each other’s questions!

About Julianna Aguilar

I am an incoming senior at CSU Stanislaus with a major in Geography. My concentrations include Physical Geography and Environmental Studies as well as Geospatial Technology. I am pursuing a minor in Environmental and Resource Studies. I enjoy outside activities, specifically hiking and rock collecting.