Thursday, September 24, 2015

2015 Region V Collegiate Soil Judging Contest: Day 3, Mudmucking


Our practice pits for the day were located in Glacial Lake Upham. We headed east from Grand Rapids into a pouring rain which didn’t really let up much until we got to our field site. Dan Wheeler met us there and we set off to find our first pit. After a half mile walk down a rather soggy road,



Photo 1. The road to the site was rather soggy

we got to the site - a shallow peat deposit over glaciolacustrine sediments along the bank of a drainage ditch through the bog.

About this time the rainstorm we had passed through caught back up with us. This did not daunt the Team, they were ready to go!  Judging soils in the rain has its difficulties:


The texture samples are too moist:


Photo 2: Samples collected for texturing the soil.



It’s hard to accurately judge soil colors on a cloudy day:


Photo 3. What do you think? 


We learned that even Write-In-Rain paper can't withstand a good Minnesota downpour:



Photo 4. Anyone have page 4??


And where did this waterfall come from anyway?


That's the pit face we're supposed to describe...


In spite of the wet weather and all these distraction, none of this dampened the Team’s spirits.



Photo 5: Rusty Zimmerman faves the site!




After completing the site description and discussing the results, the team moved on to our second practice pit. Although the rain had nearly stopped by now, it had clearly affected this site:



Photo 6: The pit following our morning rains.



After bailing water from the pit and removing some of the mud that had collapsed into it with whatever tools were at hand,



Photo 7. Mmmmm, mmud!



the Team got to work, describing this pit as well as they could. The pit face they were supposed to describe had collapsed into the pit, so the team excavated a new one and began to describe it.



Photo 8.  Rusty Zimmerman collects samples in the pit while the Team gets ready to describe them. 




Photo 9: Now that's what I call redoximorphic features!!!!




Photo 10. The rain has let up and the Team is going about its business. (l to r) Nick Vetsch, Andrea Williams, Sondra Larson, Teng Vang, Leslee Jackson, and Amanda Wolff. 





Photo 11. Luke Ratgen admires his work!



Good job, Team! I'm proud of you!!



Photo 12. Team members (l to r) Nick Vetsch, Sondra Larson, Rusty Zimmerman, Leslee Jackson, and Andrea Williams are pleased with their efforts. 



From there we moved on to an open peat bog where we took a peat core. For most of the students, this was the first time they had ever walked out on a boreal bog, so it was a great experience.

We had a late lunch at the Savanna Portage Restaurant in Floodwood, headed back to Grand Rapids for a well-deserved shower and a few minutes of rest, and then on to the Coaches Banquet to hear about the procedures for the Competition.

It’s getting late in the evening and we have to be ready to roll by 7:00 tomorrow morning, but the Team is busy planning their approach to the competition tomorrow and honing a few skills they’d like to sharpen. You guys rock!

We’re looking forward to the competition!!



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