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Back to work

Wow, time seems to be flying down here in Australia, and also back at VLS. I can hardly believe that the MELPs have finished for the year. That seems to have gone by so quickly, as have my first 6 months down here.

Anyways, I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been busy having adventures in central Australia. After returning from the Great Barrier Reef, I had the chance to spend two weeks on a geology field trip in central Australia. Although it was a little odd to be hanging out with 80 undergraduate students (most of whom seemed to be less interested in geology than I was), it was really great to get to see a different part of this huge country.

We had the fortunate opportunity to drive up and back to the field sites (very near Alice Springs) instead of riding on the bus. This allowed us to see more of the country, which is pretty flat and empty. It’s amazing — in the US, you could drive similar distances, but you would see homes and shops and things along the way. Here, there is a service station and maybe a few other buildings every 150 or 200 kms, but that’s about it. And, as soon as you turn off the main highway, the roads are all dirt.

Of course, the land isn’t really empty. There are cattle and sheep stations, but you really just don’t see very much at all. Also, it happens to have rained quite a bit this year in central Australia (a very unusual phenomenon), so we actually saw fewer kangaroos than usual as well. I think they’re often attracted to the roads to find water, but this year, there is plenty of water everywhere.

Hiking in central Australia is certainly different than hiking in Vermont. For one thing, there is spinifex everywhere, which is a sharp grass type plant that is capable of poking you just about everywhere. Also, there aren’t many trees, and you do see kangaroos instead of deer or moose. But, we did get to do some river crossings, which reminded me of Vermont.

It was great to be out hiking since I know it’s summer back in Vermont. Winter is actually the best time to visit central Australia, because it’s not too hot. So, we had lovely, warm days, and then cold nights — typical of a desert.

Anyways, there’s more to share about the trip, which perhaps I shall do later. But, for now, it’s back to work and back to research. It was great to have a break though. I feel refreshed and ready to think about things again.

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