Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More questions from students!

1. Did you get to see the sunrise & sunset? -Mikasi
Yes, and next time I will be sure to take a picture!

2. Will you get a chance to get to the wilder areas to see animals like tigers? -Dilenia
We won’t be traveling to the Sundarbans on this trip (mangrove national forest, where the Bengal tiger still lives in the wild), but we’ll visit parts of Meghalaya,
India that have a variety of wildlife. I’ll keep an eye out and let you know if I see any animals! Dhiman has worked a lot in the Sundarbans, maybe he will write a guest blog post about his experiences there. I’ll ask him. By the way, I don’t want to run into a tiger while I’m working in the field – it might eat me! I saw this little guy in the village of Jaintiapur today, that’s cat enough for me!

3. Have you been to the capital and will you share your experience from there? -Cesar

We flew into Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) and drove through the city but didn’t stay there this time. I spent a few days there last year. It’s the 9th largest city in the world, with more than 16 million people. It’s also the fastest growing city in the world, with people from the countryside flocking to the city for work. There is no urban planning and no earthquake construction regulations, so we are very worried that an earthquake will be absolutely catastrophic (and you remember that Bangladesh sits between two big plate boundaries where major earthquakes happen!). Dhaka is very crowded and the traffic is unbelievably bad! This picture shows a pretty normal looking bus in Dhaka – all beaten up because nobody obeys any lane markings.

Drivers negotiate their way down the road using their horn and shouting out the window. Policemen sometimes direct traffic by banging on cars with a stick. The air is thick with fumes from all the cars and a symphony of car horns and shouting. Some people wear masks because of the pollution. Dhiman told me that many government
employees in Dhaka try very hard to be transferred to the city of Sylhet or Khulna because Dhaka does not have a good quality of life. Imagine Manhattan without the subway, without the grid layout, without Central Park, without street sweepers, and without strict building regulations. It makes for a very chaotic experience. The rest of Bangladesh is much more pleasant than Dhaka!

4. Please send more photos of what you've been doing, -Kenneth
Here are some photos Cecilia took of me working on two different outcrops on the Sylhet Anticline. In the first photo I'm measuring strike and dip using my compass and in the 2nd photo I'm scraping the grime off the outcrop to reveal all the sedimentary features.

5. Do you like Bangladesh? –Floridalia
I like Bangladesh very much! The people are very friendly and welcoming, the countryside is beautiful and the food is delicious! I like listening to the call to prayer from the mosque loud-speaker, even at 5:30 in the morning – it’s better than an alarm clock! It is fascinating how people interact with the environment here – there is extensive flooding during the monsoon, so people build their villages on the river levees, which stick out of the water (most of the time). They plant trees to help prevent erosion and protect their homes. The flat floodplain areas around the rivers are cultivated as rice paddies. When the rivers shift their course, people move onto the new land that is left behind. The tea plantations on the hills near Sylhet are very beautiful. We also saw a waterfall!

What don’t I like about Bangladesh? Well, I found that Dhaka made me feel very stressed because it was so crowded, but once I got into the countryside I felt much better. Our hotel had only cold water, but I guess that builds character! We have to be very careful to drink only bottled water so we don't get sick. Antje was sick yesterday, but she's feeling much better today!

6. How's the temperature over there? -Belissa

Very pleasant, 50-70 degrees. At night it’s comfortable with a light blanket and the ceiling fan on low. It rained one day which made us a little soggy, but it cleared the dust from the air!

7. Do you get homesick or miss the life back here in NYC? –Joanna

Since I went away to boarding school when I was 14, I had to learn how to cope with homesickness. I immerse myself in the moment and do not give myself time to dwell on sad or lonely thoughts. I do miss my boyfriend and our cats!

8. Where are you finding internet connection? –Bielka

We have a wireless modem that connects to the cell towers. It's not very speedy, but it gets the job done!

9. Do you bring food with you in the field or is it provided? –Saratt

We usually eat a big breakfast and have some snacks in the afternoon. Sometimes we sit down for lunch at a small restaurant if we’re feeling hungry, but that takes time so we try to keep working! For breakfast we eat a type of flat bread called “Roti”, eggs made into a ‘momlette (as they call it in Bangladesh), and mixed vegetable curry. It is very, very tasty!

4- How long before your research is complete? –James

Well, this fieldwork will be done on the Jan 31st. I hope to be done with my PhD in 4 years. I have a lot more work to do in the field and in the lab, as well as writing papers and my dissertation.

5- How will your research change the scientific community? –Randy

Studying the Shillong Plateau will improve our understanding of how the Dauki fault deforms the earth and what sort of earthquakes it can generate. It will also add to our knowledge about how rock folds at shallow depths where it’s not very hot. I really hope my research can help raise awareness about the earthquake hazards facing Bangladesh.

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