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CSULB Geospatial Research and Mapping (GRAM) Field Program
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Looking for Dirt (Which can be surprisingly hard to find…)

Posted on June 18, 2013 by Courtney

Today was adventure day! I think I used that one already, but oh well.

Today was also kind of a confusing day, but that’s okay. A little confusion is good for the mind, like exercise for your brain.

I woke up this morning not entirely sure what I would be doing today, but figured that it would probably involve going out to the field. With that assumption in mind, I got dressed and took my usual chemical bath of bugspray and sunscreen, only to learn at about quarter to 8 that we weren’t necessarily supposed to go to the field right away unless we absolutely have to. As I was relatively unsure about whether or not I had a good reason to go, I jumped at the opportunity when Paul offered to drive some of us out halfway through the day. A nice compromise that avoided all actual decision making.

While in the barn, I thought I should probably be productive in some way, so I started to look into indexes for measuring soil and vegetation moisture, to see if there might be some way I could apply it to my project (or at least my project idea. Still not sure if it’ll work out the way I see it in my head). I found a few excellent articles that kept me occupied until we finally got out to Ka’a’awa.

Once there, I realized that my time might have been better spent planning a little better for what exactly I wanted to do with my time, but it was too late for anything formal so I sort of just jumped right in. Thanks to Kerry, I had a little handheld GPS just to get basic lat-long information, and I decided to start looking for areas of exposed soil along the valley walls that might be useful when applying soil moisture indexes (most of them, or at least most of the ones for which we have data available in the correct wavelength, don’t work well with any sort of groundcover). While doing that, being me, I naturally got distracted by just about everything, and ended up doing some investigation into hydrology, at least to the extent it seemed relevant to the project. I found a sort of cistern beside the cliff wall where they were rechanneling water, which helped to explain some of the apparent disappearing water situations of the valley, though not all. Still, the adventure was a good one, and I managed to get about 15 points of interest in the part of the south valley I covered. All in all, an effective day for only being a couple hours’ field time.

When we got back, I jumped right in to see how my points fell, but since I was unfamiliar with the GPS system, I just plotted points for the latitudes and longitudes I had collected in Google Earth. Unfortunately, the imagery had a lot of clouds and/or poor coloring, depending on the year I used, so it was very difficult to actually see anything I had marked. Also unfortunately, that may mean that I have to completely rule out soil indexing in the visible wavelengths because it appears that there’s not actually enough there to analyze. I’m not without hope yet, though, because I also found some promising vegetation moisture indexes, and if there’s one thing that valley has covered, it’s vegetation.

As far as I know, we’re presenting some idea of our projects tomorrow, and though I think I’ve got mine pretty well thought through, I’m not sure I’m quite prepared for a potential tearing-apart, so I should probably just go to sleep. I already fell asleep on several car rides today. Not anticipating too much trouble sleeping tonight. So, goodnight!

 

Dirt. It's thrilling, I know.

 

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