Starting right away, we have begun describing samples we took from a local quarry last September. This involves consulting literature written about the rock sections we took samples from and then examining our samples with this knowledge in mind. We wet the samples to see more detail in them and describe their color, grain size, cracks, holes, minerals, etc.
After sample descriptions are done we will start building a graphical representation of the rock section we measured. This graphic is constructed using our detailed field notes, sample descriptions, and lots of time at a computer. Below is an example of the graphic we constructed for another local quarry last fall. Each section in the column represents a different type or feature in the rock. You can see the rock change as we worked our way up the section. Rocks near the marker 3 are 3 meters above where we started measuring. The total height of the rock section was 8 meters.
The next step in our GSA preparation will be to photograph the samples. I took photos of our older samples for a poster presentation last fall. This involves finding a camera, zoom lens, black background, getting the light source right and keeping a short leash on my auto-focus. I took many photos of each sample. I picked out the best image of each sample and edited them in software called gimp. I’d never photographed rock samples before and was surprised at the amazing detail I could bring out of seemingly blank rocks with a little color curve manipulation! Below is an example of a sample photograph I took.
Once all this is done, we’ll need to position everything correctly on our new poster and update any text we may need to. Making a poster and preparing a presentation at this level is a lot of work, but we know it’s possible.S The BETA Rock Team will see you at GSA in Ames this April!
-- William Spurr