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> August 18, 2006 - Paramushir, Day Two, We start working!
post Aug 25 2006, 04:48 PM
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August 18, 2006 - Paramushir, Day Two

NOTE: The eight days of journal entries from August 17-24 were written while I was camping ashore at Pernatoye Lake, along Vasil’ev Bay on southern Paramushir Island. I am typing them in mostly verbatim from my handwritten journal from the field – with just minor editing/additions for content and clarity – now that I am back on the Gipanis.

August 18, 2006 - 4 pm

This morning I slept pretty late – 7:40! Even without my sleeping pad (it was forgotten on Gipanis) – the bed is pretty comfortable and with 2-3 layers on I was plenty warm enough (even kicked off my socks in the middle of the night). Breakfast was ready very soon after I got up and dressed. We had bread and jam, tea and coffee, plus a rice, red bean, peas and meat medley, called kasha. Very yummy and there was a lot. I put some in the covered mug that I borrowed from Bre for later.

The plan for the day was for Tanya, Katya, Jesse and Jody to do some reconnaissance of the area to determine good places for profiles, excavations, etc. The plan for the day was for Pasha, Pat and I go do bathymetry measurements on the lake, while Sasha and Tolya put the coring platform together. So I packed my day bag with a spare layer, my food, a bit of first aid and we hiked down to the lake. Pat, Pasha and I set out in the smaller inflatable dinghy.

At first Pasha just walked the boat out a ways. By the time that we were 50-100 m from the shore and Pasha was only up to his knees, it was apparent that the lake might not be very deep. This concerned Pat because a shallow lake could mean one of two things – one good, one not so good. If the lake is shallow and old, then that means that it has filled in with a lot of sediments. If the lake is shallow and young, then that means that it has always been shallow and the sediments are not very deep.

As we started slowly motoring around the lake, Pasha saved waypoints on his GPS and I wrote the depth at each point, measured by a simple fish finder probe mounted to the side of the dinghy, in a small notebook. We continued to find a fairly flat-bottomed lake. Pat explained that they would rather find a deep basin somewhere in the lake since this sort of feature would concentrate the pollen and sediments as they “roll” down the slope and collect in the low spot more than the flat areas.

The deepest readings that we found were in neighborhood of 1.5 – 1.8 m. Not very deep. At one point, Pasha took the long metal rods that we were carrying with us, connected 3 of them and pushed them down into the muddy bottom. Surprisingly, and pleasingly, he was able to push the hollow rods about 2 meters down into the bottom. This was good – if the lake wasn’t old, at least there was a deep relatively deep layer of sediment.

As we continued around the lake, making waypoints and depth measurements, we saw the geologist group and headed over to find out what they had discovered so far. As soon as she was within hearing distance, Tanya told us that she had very good news for us. They had found Kuril Lake tephra in some of their preliminary excavations. The Kuril Lake eruption happened about 7500 years ago in Southern Kamchatka and if we could find the same tephra in the lake then we could easily determine the age of the sediments. Finding this tephra was also very good news because it told us that the entire peninsula, including the lake, was at least 7500 years old, rather than a younger geologic feature.

As we continued motoring slowly around the lake, taking points, suddenly, as we cam around a shallower edge, the boat motor hit a large rock and the cotter pin that holds on the propeller broke off. We were about as far away from our launch point as we could be on the lake, but no worries! Pasha paddled us over to some more deserted barracks on the southernmost end of the lake, went ashore and quickly found an appropriately-sized nail and fixed the problem. It is highly convenient, having so many “raw” materials around to make life go easier.

In the early afternoon, Pat felt that we had gotten enough data to make a bathymetric map and to decide where to core. Later, Pasha will put the nearly 170 depths that we collected along with their corresponding GPS information into his computer and make a map. Meanwhile, Sasha and Tolya had begun putting the coring platform together. We all went up the house, had a quick tea and snack and then all 3 men when back to finishing constructing and then anchoring the platform. Pat thinks that we should easily be able to do all of the coring tomorrow and the next day, so after that, we will probably take it easy for the rest of the afternoon.
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