Friday, June 22, 2007

geeky work babble from Florida

I've just finished my first 10-day shift here in Florida. I'm drilling geotechnical borings for a proposed nuclear power plant (I should mention the drillers would probably say they do the drilling and I just watch, but...). Right now it's just swamp and forest with some interesting wildlife (at least for me). So far this week:

- three scorpions (in my empty core boxes first thing in the morning)
- one 4-foot long alligator described as "poor" by the driller who caught him and declared that he needed to be moved to better hunting grounds
- two armidillos that were squished on the access road by the drillers (I'm convinced the guy aimed for them - it is the south you know)

Did you know that this week the US just put their first nuclear power plant online in something like 20 years, and there are going to be lots coming online in the next handful of years. I digress...

I was just looking for some money from this job (12 hour days, two 10-day shifts, time and a half after 8 hours, all expenses paid = many thousand in the bank after 3 weeks of work). But this has actually turned out to be interesting work. I typically do water supply or environmental wells in unconsolidated alluvial / fluvial / glacial type sediments. If the sediments are lithified (i.e., cemented), we often call this bedrock and stop. So I rarely get to really look at interesting rock. The rock here is rock (limestone), with lots of fossils, voids and some nasty big cavities (think 10-foot caves filled with water & sediments 100 feet below the ground). These big cavities scare people because foundations for 423 billion tonne reactor buildings, cooling towers, etc. have a tendency to compact soils & rocks and cause such cavities to collapse resulting in... well, preventing such things is why were here swiss-cheesing the landscape with borings and preparing plans for foundations, grouting programs, etc. etc. I can't say life here is exciting, but interesting from a geologists point of view - life for me is mostly about sitting under a canopy, supervising the drilling and logging core. It's more usual for me to focus on well construction and hydraulic testing, so it's great experience to be here with some very experienced geologists focussing on logging rock.

And everyone has now gone home, except me. I've got 4 days off, but for me to go anywhere where I know people is either a non-direct flight into other time zones or an $1800 flight (which company would pay for, but grudigngly and does seem excessive for what would really just be 2 days once you lose the travel days). So I've decided to stick around and do a road trip on the company (I don't get paid, but expenses are covered - it's cheaper for them to have me travel about than pay for my travel time). I'm going to start heading down to the Everglades in a couple hours. I've chosen this as a general plan, though we'll see which way the car points when I get on the road. Could also go to the Keys or Miami or the beaches or ?? Though it is nearly noon, I haven't left my hotel room, am on my 3rd cup of coffee, and am very much enjoying taking it easy, doing emails, etc. etc. Perhaps I'll give an update on what happens later...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Florida tomorrow.

I've been slacking on blogging I know. I have a Peru blog in progress, but...

I'm off to Florida tomorrow for a week or three in hot humid weather. Drilling wells at a future nuclear power plant in the northern Gulf region of Florida (a couple hours north of Tampa). That's really all I know. Got a few things printed I'll read on the plane tomorrow.

Right now I'm at Gabe's packing at 11PM - well, only sort of Gabe's see he moved out, but such a small technicality :) Have had a couple fun weeks in SF since Peru. Definitely miss SF every time I leave (though I seem to come back often).

Just as a foreshadow... there's some talk of me working in Alaska for July & August, which doesn't really fit in with other plans, which is why it's just talk. But spending some time in Alaska would be neat! Especially in the summer!