Second day considerations

Aug 28, 2013 No Comments by 1587 views

After 2 days of talks I have just about got into conference mode. What does that mean? Well, before now I have found it very difficult to ‘switch on’ and pay attention within the first 15 seconds of each presentation. This also means that I haven’t taken many of the talk concepts away with me to mentally process in the breaks.

Monday evening, amongst many things, hosted the Critical Zone forum. This was a series of presentations outlining the work of several Critical Zone observatories and the importance and direction of the research in the coming years. (FYI, the CZ isn’t a group of researchers who get together and slate each other’s work, it’s all about earth surface processes!)The session was introduced by Steve Banwart, who I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with during my PhD as part of the Weathering Science Consortium. The forum was an excellent kick off for the Critical Zone arm of this Goldschmidt meeting which was followed up on Tuesday morning in session 16b “Probing the Critical Zone”. The Tuesday morning session had many excellent presentations, but it was 2 statements from the Monday evening forum which have stayed with me until now.

The two statements were both from Jérôme Gaillardet, and they were so good I even tweeted them in a slightly paraphrased form (https://twitter.com/Brayaw/status/372049614159228928 & https://twitter.com/Brayaw/status/372051406267908096). Critical Zone research excites me so much because there is a huge amount we still do not know about the region between the bedrock and the top of the tree canopy, and the studies involve oodles of interdisciplinary work. It is this interdisciplinary, holistic approach to understand how a system works that is infectious. I am the kind of person who likes to get things finished and wrapped up (yeah yeah yeah, I’m working on the thesis), and Jérôme’s analogy of treating the bad back really resonated with me.

The second statement from Jérôme on the frequency of river water sampling got me thinking about sampling strategies in general. It was later in the evening when speaking about this with friends that Morgan Jones told me about an osmotic pump he has been using to collect river water samples automatically over 3 months (see Morgan’s abstract here).

A David almost certainly contemplating sampling strategies

A David almost certainly contemplating sampling strategies

As we all know, the need to obtain accurate and representative samples of natural systems is vital to understanding processes. I’m sure that I am not alone in my excitement about developments and advances in methods, technology and apparatus in this area.

Check out Morgan’s talk on Thursday afternoon and Jérôme’s contributions for the next 3 days. For more Critical Zone related talks on Wednesday, head to 19q (AM) and 19c (PM) both in L11. Also, top tips for presentations to watch out for: Heather Buss @15:15, Alain Plante @15:30 and Steeve Bonneville @16:45, all in session 19c, L11.

Goldschmidt 2013

About the author

Andy Bray is a PostDoc in the Cohen Geochemistry Group, Earth Surface Science Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds. Andy is particularly interested in mineral-fluid-life interactions and is currently working as part of the NERC R3AW project; Resource Recovery and Remediation of Alkaline Wastes. In a more natural environment, you might find Andy telling bad jokes, mountain biking, sleeping in hammocks and jumping into rivers.
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