Thursday, February 7, 2013

Back in Bangladesh

We're back in Bangladesh now. We're spending the week exploring more anticlines (folds) and meeting with our colleagues who study the rivers. Today we got to see tube well drilling.

There's a special drilling technique they use in Bangladesh. One member of the drill team uses their hand as a valve, just like you might use your finger to keep suction to lift water up in a drinking straw. Three or four other guys pull on a lever to lift the drill pipe up. They can drill really deep!
Each time the pipe drops down, a squirt of sand, mud and water comes out the top. They catch some in a bucket and then they can study its composition and see how it changes as they dig deeper. 

Our colleague Professor Goodbred has an awesome tool called the XRF. It stands for X-ray Fluorescence. It shoots x-rays at a sample of sand and measures different elements. The chemistry can tell us where the sand came from! This helps us learn about where the rivers were in the past. We work with scientists who study rivers because rising mountains and earthquakes can cause the rivers to change course!

 We've been having a little bit of trouble in Bangladesh because they've had some political strikes called hartals. During a hartal, cars can't drive around because people set up road blocks and may attack cars. During the 48 hour hartal, we needed to work so we had to take a truck on the dirt road through a national park. It was a bumpy ride. We didn't see any angry mobs. It was very peaceful and we even saw a monkey with a baby!

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