Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tiger stripes!

One of the biggest challenges facing us in Bangladesh is that outcrops are few and far between. Bangladesh is very flat and close to sea-level. Here the mighty rivers that drain the Himalayan Mountains reach the sea and drop tons of sand and mud, forming one of the biggest river deltas in the world. We don't find hard rock at the surface in very many places because the rivers have piled many miles of mud and sand on top. Faults (fractures where rocks move, bend and break) bring the rock to the surface in some places. We’ve spent our first week working in an area where sandstone and mudstone (rocks made from compressed sand and mud) have been folded upward and stick out of the surrounding new sand and mud that hasn’t been squished enough to become rock yet. You might remember from our activity that an anticline is curved upward like a rainbow. We’re taking lots of measurements and samples from an anticline so we can understand when and how it formed.

On Sunday while Nano, Antje and I were collecting some samples of grey mudstone, Cecilia and Khaled went to explore around the other side of the hill. They found a wall of crumbly sandstone that had been cut to make room for a driveway. Khaled scraped away some of the grime covering the surface and what he found was amazing: bright orange sandstone with mudstone layers – it looked like tiger stripes!

But even more exciting was a diagonal band with broken up pieces of the mudstone that cuts straight through the flat layers – this might have been caused by violent shaking in an ancient earthquake!

We took lots of measurements, collected samples and took many, many photos so we can try to understand how an earthquake causes this kind of damage. Cecilia and Khaled will be heading to southern Bangladesh tomorrow to continue looking for damage caused by ancient earthquakes. We’ll miss them, but can’t wait to hear about what they find!

Later in the day on Sunday, we found some good rock outcrops near the Cricket stadium, and we climbed up to the top to get a good view. We found that the rocks lay flat, so we knew were standing on top of the middle of the anticline.

There were some little boys playing outside and they saw us way up on top of the hill and came to investigate. You can probably imagine how much we stand out – such strange foreign girls, dressed like men! We rarely see people here with closed shoes, let alone boots! As we continued working, more and more young children kept coming up the hill to join their friends.

About an hour later, school had just gotten out (here the weekend is Friday & Saturday), and some middle schoolers came up to see what their little brothers and sisters were looking at. By the time we were finished our work, we had drawn a crowd of almost 30 people! Even an elderly woman climbed up the hill to see what all the fuss was about!

Can't wait to read your questions and comments! Let me know if I mention something you don't understand or want to know more about. Is there anything in particular you'd like to see a picture of?

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention we saw an elephant! (not wild, though.)


  1. Thank you Ms.Ferguson! We enjoyed reading your updates.
    Here are some questions/comments for you:
    1-Do you get to see the sunrise & sunset? -Mikasi
    2-Will you get a chance to get to the wilder areas to see animals like tigers?-Dilenia
    3- Have you been to the capital and will you share your experience from there? -Cesar
    Hope to hear from you soon!

  2. Ms.Ferguson- So great to hear from you! Here are responses from Class 8KI:
    1- Please send more photos of what you've been doing, -Kenneth
    2- Do you like Bangladesh? -Floridalia
    3- How's the temperature over there? -Belissa

  3. Hi Ms.Ferguson! Thanks for the update, we are enjoying the blog so far.
    Here are comments/questions from 8HA:
    1- Do you get homesick or miss the life back here in NYC? -Joanna
    2- Where are you finding internet connection? -Bielka
    3- Do you bring food with you in the field or is it provided? -Saratt
    4- How long before your research is complete? -James
    5- How will your research change the scientific community? -Randy