Monday, August 8, 2011

My first experience as a real geologist.

I guess it has been a while since I last posted. Maybe I should quit slacking.

I just got back from my first trip to the field site on the Sevier Lake (near Delta, Utah.) It was a lot better than I expected to be honest. After last summer I had developed an understandable hatred of geological field work. Working for North American hiking around in the worst mountains ever, by myself, for 10 hours a day for $120/day (+ a per-diem) wasn't exactly my idea of a good situation, but it was work experience so I stuck with it... for about 2 weeks, haha.

When Norwest interviewed me for an office job and then offered me a field job working on a lake bed I was a little hesitant, but for over twice of what North American had paid me and in an economy that, while better than 2008, still kind of sucks for recent graduates, it's not like I had the option of saying no.

Besides I was at field camp when I got the offer and field camp was quite possibly one of the most awesome experiences of my life. How bad could professional field work be, right? Unfortunately my first day I have to admit I was less than excited for the experience, but I had acted super excited about the opportunity to everyone hoping the positive attitude would convince me that I really was excited.

I got to Salt Lake and parked the Tiburon in the parking garage, not to be seen for 8 days and got in the truck to head for the sprawling metropolis of Delta, population 3000. The drive there was good. I got along well with the geologic manager of the company, but this wasn't different from my experience last summer. The guy I worked for last summer was a fantastic person. We met up with the field supervisor that I'd be working for out there and he was a younger guy. This made me happy. It's always nice to have people with similar interests in life to work with. We went out to the field site and started analyzing core that the drillers brought us.

I was shown the papers we had to use to log the core information and told pertinent things I should look for. It was all pretty much stuff that I learned in school, just notated differently than I had done it before, and this was good. I felt comfortable with it. Even more important I felt like I was actually doing geology. This was a great improvement over my job last summer which just used my abilities of navigating a GPS and being able to hike for long distances.

For the next 8 days I spent time with the geologists, drillers and laborers working on the project and got to know them decently. The one geologist I work with is awesome. He reminds me of myself, had I grown up outside of the Mormon culture. I got a ride back to SLC on Monday and got in at about 1 or 2 pm. I loaded my stuff back into the Tiburon and felt good.

Later that night I hung out with the new girlfriend (yeah new girlfriend again.. shut up.. at least I try, okay?) and it was really nice seeing her and I had fun telling her about the fun experiences I had in Delta as well as playing Donkey Kong Country (she plays SNES, this is a good sign.) I got home at a lateish hour, probably 2am, and went to sleep. I ended up waking up at around 8am thinking to myself "Weird, I have this strange desire to go look at clay in tubes." That's kind of when I realized that I actually liked my job. I wasn't just telling myself I liked it or highlighting the high points of the week. There were certainly low points, such as the 14 hour day or when we had to walks two miles through mud because both snow cats broke down or when we had to work in 3 inches of standing water or the suicidal deer that attacked our truck head first at 5am or when lightning almost killed us.. but all of it was kinda fun. I only feared for my life once, which is about nine times less than I did on my assignment at the other job and I got to work with some pretty cool people, minus one rather unprofessional and unknowledgeable geologist from another company.

I also got my field camp credit transferred from SOU to USU. It showed up on my transcript today and I should be officially graduating in August, which means I'll receive my diploma sometime in 2016. That's exciting.

I like my job. I'm off until Monday and have some free time. I think I'll relax, spend some more time playing DKC and maybe go car shopping. I love the Tiburon, but it has been 7 years and to get it registered this month I'm going to need to spend about $1000 in repairs. That coupled with a new job that I'm excited to stay at means I can finally do something for myself that I've been wanting to do for a long while.

Another perk is that I can now use the phrase "Don't worry, I'm a geologist." in situations where it has no pertinent use such as zombie invasions or terrorist attacks. So next time you're stuck in a lightning storm and there is nothing around taller than you are - don't worry, your friend Brandon is a geologist.

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