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Project Acronym: TOWUTI | State: Completed | Expedition ID: 5055

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Displaying results 21 to 40 out of 55
  • (inserted: 12.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-12

    Yesterday TDP's very own used car salesman and hitman, Chris ...

    Yesterday TDP's very own used car salesman and hitman, Chris "Buzz" Kelly, lost a beard and gained a mustache. He asked for a beard trim, but got a little more than he expected, and the ladies at the hairdresser thought Buzz's mustache was too hot to cut off. He's really rocking it now, as no one will lend him a beard trimmer. Give us your vote: Mustache: dirty lip or Indonesian idol? PS- still waiting for pumps. (TDP on facebook) The saga continues. It's worth it to review this whole rig shutdown business. Two weeks ago to the day Atlas Copco told us they thought the problem with the rig were hydraulic flow compensators- small valve systems that act as surge suppressors on the fluid flow. We managed to get CAP logistics to hotshot those compensators to DOSECC headquarters in Utah (a saga in itself, as the sale of the compensators required approval from various head offices of Atlas Copco. Steve spent all night arranging this). Rich Szentmiklosi of DOSECC jumped on a plane to Jakarta, where he met Steve Cole, who jumped on two planes back to here (Rich spent all of 1 day in Jakarta). We installed those in the middle of the night- they didn't work ($5,000 down the drain). Atlas Copco then told us that it must be the main hydraulic pumps (which cost $30k), and that we had to order them that same day (last Friday) or risk a long shutdown as we couldn't order them over the weekend. They promised those pumps to us by Wednesday if we ordered last Friday. We did it, then Atlas Copco failed to ship the pumps from Texax until the following Monday afternoon. At first they told us the pumps would show up this morning (Saturday), then said they'd rush ordered them to arrive last Wednesday. They could not or would not give us a tracking number to see what was going on. Well, the pumps arrived in Jakarta in the middle of the night Wednesday, and got stuck in customs until late yesterday. No one seemed to be pushing the customs. The pumps finally were inspected and released yesterday afternoon, and Atlas Copco tried to send them on a plane to Makassar (where we will pick them up and drive them to Lake Towuti, a 12-hour car ride). All looked good, until someone noticed hydraulic oil leaking from a pump. Apparently customs didn't properly refit one of the caps on the pump. The air freight company rejected the shipment, and the pumps are now being sent to Atlas Copco in Jakarta, where they will be repackaged and sent to Makassar late today (I hope). They should arrive Sunday morning, 4 days after originally promised. Meanwhile, the project bleeds money at a rate of about $3,000/day, and DOSECC bleeds money at a standby rate of maybe $5,000/day. So, we would all welcome your comments about Atlas Copco customer service. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 10.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-10

    Another day dawns at Lake Towuti. I'm writing this from ...

    Another day dawns at Lake Towuti. I'm writing this from the dock we built at the shore of Lake Towuti, where I've been since 5:30 AM waiting for the night crew to come back from the barge and trying to organize everything for the expected resumption of drilling operations this Saturday. Yes, you read that right- after two weeks of delay, new hydraulic pumps are almost here now, and we expect to be up and running again in two days! For all of us Towutians it couldn't come soon enough. I've been in Indonesia for the last 40 days (and about 80 days in 2015), and will be here for 33 more. I love this place and what I do: the research, the scenery, and the people I get to work with. But last night the hotel served us potato salad. While it was a great respite from rice (usually 3 hits a day!), to be honest it made me miss my wife's potato salad. And the woman herself. And the dogs. And summer in Rhode Island. So let's all hope that these pumps work and that we're back on track this weekend! (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 09.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-09

    TDP gets strange. The days are getting longer, and without ...

    TDP gets strange. The days are getting longer, and without the daily routine of drilling and sample processing, the mind wanders. Some of us are trying to sample every item on the hotel menu. Yesterday I tried the Oreo Milkshake (=sugar-bomb) after a sate dinner. Fueled by this sugary inspiration, I tried some sate stick and milkshake straw art. Jan-Thorsten captured the moment on camera. A work of beauty, isn't it? In other news, our first core shipment left Sorowako yesterday bound for our friends at LacCore, USA. Here's hoping for no shipping delays! (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 08.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-08

    The downtime has given us some time to analyze data ...

    The downtime has given us some time to analyze data from the first two holes to assess the efficiency of our recovery. In lake drilling, each core is brought to the surface in 3 meter increments, which can leave gaps between the 3 meter sections. It can also be difficult to core sands and hard materials. We can just drill through those materials (not coring them), but this leaves additional gaps. We try to fill these gaps by drilling multiple holes at each site. At Towuti Site 1, for instance, we hope to drill 4 holes to get close to 100% recover of the sediments. To assess how well we are doing, we try to correlate geophysical data, such as the magnetic susceptibility (a measure of the concentration of magnetic minerals in the sediment) from each core, and then test this data against measurements of susceptibility made using borehole logging tools (these are sensors lowered down the hole in the bottom of the lake) to assess the gaps using a piece of software called Correlator. It is a quirky program, to say the least. Ryan and I spent most of the morning trying to do this. As you can see from the screenshot below, we were doing pretty well. Then the software crashed. And we started over. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 07.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-07

    The interminable wait for rig parts continues. To keep things ...

    The interminable wait for rig parts continues. To keep things lively, here is the next installment in our DrillCam miniseries: Recovering a Core. A special thanks goes to Skyler Davis, who attached his GoPro to his hard hat to film these videos. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 06.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-06

    It's been nine days since we last drilled a core, ...

    It's been nine days since we last drilled a core, and will be at least five more until we can get new pumps for the rig and start coring again. It's a hard pill to swallow that after 4 years of careful planning, the project has come together beautifully, yet the most critical piece of drilling equipment is defective. This is not to say we haven't made progress- the Geomicrobiology team has finished processing our first core, and has an excellent set of samples with which to understand biogeochemical processes in metal-rich sediment. And as you see from previous posts, our outreach efforts are really making an impact in the local community. Meanwhile, due to the lull, much of the science team is taking the opportunity to visit nearby Tana Toraja to see some of the region's rich cultural heritage, while Tia, Ryan, and I stay here to push things along as best we can. To take us to happier times, here is a video from Towuti Drilling Project's world famous DrillCam. This clip takes us back to the project's salad days when we had a working drill. This video shows the process of deploying a hydraulic piston corer (HPC), the principal piece of equipment we use for coring soft lake sediments. Next up: core recovery. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 05.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-05

    As our drilling operation is down at the moment, some ...

    As our drilling operation is down at the moment, some scientists and students involved in the Towuti Drilling Project are visiting other parts of South Sulawesi to enjoy the rich and beautiful cultural and natural landscapes that the region has to offer. A few of us who stay around Lake Towuti also take this opportunity to visit some lovely outcrops. We are hoping to learn more about the local geology and to identify potential sites for rock and sediment sampling over the next few days. Additionally, this week we have been visiting multiple schools in the area. We visited two elementary schools, one junior high school, and one senior high school. We are thankful to the teachers as well as the students and their parents for inviting us and for warmly welcoming us to their schools. We hope that these visits not only give our friends who live near Lake Towuti a better understanding about TDP; we also hope to inspire and motivate the students to pursue higher education in STEM-related fields. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 03.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-03

    Day 4 of our wait begins. Our replacement parts show ...

    Day 4 of our wait begins. Our replacement parts show up in 6 hours and 25 minutes, so hopefully we'll be back in operation tonight. We're on pins and needles. But things haven't been completely been completely boring. We had a big storm a couple nights ago on Towuti that tossed our emergency boat around. Even crazier, the barge got hit with a beetle infestation. The beetles have mostly left, but it was a crazy scene for a couple of days. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 02.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-02

    Day three of our wait for rig parts is halfway ...

    Day three of our wait for rig parts is halfway through. The days are getting long, and we're trying to keep our regular schedule of 12-hour rotations so that we can jump straight into drilling when the rig is fixed (hopefully tomorrow). This usually means sunrises on the lake, which are a beautiful sight. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 01.06.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-06-01

    Our standby continues while waiting for new parts for the ...

    Our standby continues while waiting for new parts for the rig. Yesterday the grad students completed our surface sediment sampling program that will let us characterize spatial variations in the chemical and mineralogical composition of modern sediments in Towuti- important to understanding variations in the past. We expect the spare parts to arrive tomorrow, so we are prepping everyone to get back on 12-hour shifts. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 31.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-31

    Today is the first full day of a complete shutdown ...

    Today is the first full day of a complete shutdown of our drilling operations. Unfortunately, we have not found a solution for the drilling rig and are just going to have to wait for new parts to arrive from the heart of drilling country: Texas, USA. We are taking this time to get our business back in order, process our preliminary data, and prepare for drilling to resume later this week. So, once again, we take the opportunity to celebrate the natural beauty of Luwu Timur. For those of you who have never traveled to the tropics, there is really something different about the light here. I often stand in awe of it. But keep tuned: coming soon is "drillcam". (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 30.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-30

    We have been logging for the last two days while ...

    We have been logging for the last two days while the DES crew has tried to fix the drilling rig. Unfortunately, the is still not fully functional, so we are in delay until we can obtain replacement parts for the rig. As our driller Tim put it, "the drill won't drill." Simultaneously, we are working extremely hard to communicate our research to the local communities, who are very concerned about environmental impacts on the lake. We are making progress, but slowly. In light of these developments, rather than work photos I am posting some shots from Chris, Marina, and Ryan of the plants and animals that live in this beautiful, beautiful place. We hope you enjoy them. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 27.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-27

    Yesterday we bottomed out at ~107 mblf in alternating lake ...

    Yesterday we bottomed out at ~107 mblf in alternating lake and peat beds. The peats, which represent marsh environments, indicate very shallow water and very low lake levels, likely during the early phases of Lake Towuti's formation. The DES team is really coming up to speed with the drilling rig, as are are already at ~100 mblf again. We are working sun-up to sundown, and then all night, and making excellent progress. For the day shift, the sun rises as we're heading out to the barge, and sets as we're heading back. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 25.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-25

    We are working hard down our first pilot hole. The ...

    We are working hard down our first pilot hole. The work is fairly slow, as we are encountering a lot of problems and unexpected lithologies that make for slow drilling. In particular, we are finding a number of thick (maybe 0.4 m) volcanic ashes, likely corresponding to eruptions from North Sulawesi. This is great news for the project, as the tephras should provide very important age control points and will let us ask a number of important questions: What are the impacts of major but distant eruptions on Towuti ecosystems? How frequently do major caldera-forming eruptions occur in Indonesia? It has been hard to adjust for the large changes in hardness and density between these tephras and the soft lake sediments, but the drillers are learning how best to adjust. We're now ~70 meters sub-bottom after 2 days, and the pace is accelerating. After this first pilot hole, we should be able to do a good job on the subsequent holes. We're also working to establish a routine. For me this is wake up at 3:30, deal with any coordination or billing issues from abroad, breakfast at 4:30, a crew shift change starting at 5:30, and then coordinating between the lab work and other groups until the cycle repeats (dinner at 4:30 PM, etc...). (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 24.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-24

    A series of minor mishaps yesterday and overnight, including a ...

    A series of minor mishaps yesterday and overnight, including a rebuild of a hydraulic line on the drilling rig at the start of night shift. But, at 2:22 AM, the first cores were received on deck. Gonna be exciting to see how everything looks today in the lab! (TDP on facebook) From Chris: While most of the senior members of the project have been transfixed on barge construction, drilling logistics, and machine repair, some of the students have had the opportunity to go out on Lake Towuti to take surface sediment samples. This has provided us the invaluable experience of traversing a fair bit of the lake- taking note of the surface sediment, but also the layout, inflows/outflow, composition of the surrounding forest, and natural beauty of Towuti. Sometimes as scientists studying past climate states, we simply receive sediment in the mail and are divorced from physically experiencing the geography and modern climate and vegetation regime of the locale. It has been totally fulfilling to get a sense for the lake and its environs, in the here and now, as we set our sights on drilling the longest continuous record of hydroclimate change in southeast Asia. Depending on the daily weather (quite volatile), the lake surface can be significantly stormy, or so quiescent as to reflect the blue sky perfectly. In the case of the picture shown, the day had seen both extremes. As we made our way back to port at the village Timampu, we were left with exquisite lighting, as rays shone down through patchy clouds against the backdrop of a mountainous sunset. From Tika: This project is my first experience doing sampling in a lake, including both the surface sediment sample, core sediment samples as well as sample measurements by using Geotek MSCL. I was very fortunate to be able to join early with the geoscience team as I can learn how to sample the surface sediment of the lake and use various tools for measuring core samples. The geology of the research area is important to study before sampling and I got that very well after two days of geological survey field work. Moreover, I can share and exchange ideas with Chris, Marina and Ascelina when we are in the field as well as in discussions in our research house. From Marina: Well, for most people the sight of rain will make them run for shelter, but I have to say, here on Sulawesi at 2°S, this is a pleasant sight. And it's also the reason why we are here we want to take a closer look into the history of rainfall and temperature over the past 600.000 years! With the coring starting off, the time of preparations is now over and we are waiting for the first cores to arrive at the lab. The picture also shows one of the boats, which serve as my alarm clock every morning when they start their engines hearing protection is a good choice when taking one of those boats out for surface sediment sampling as we did in the past couple of days. Other than that there is one very important part of my Indonesian experience missing in the picture: rice! But we're all getting used to that, and actually there is great variety of tastes in the Indonesian cuisine. So we are all settled here in Sorowako we've probably visited each of the many tiny shops in town at least three times (especially the ones which sell cookies) and I'm very much looking forward to welcoming the first sediment cores in the research lab! (TDP on facebook) From Ascelina Hasberg: Three weeks ago we most of the foreign scientists arrived in Jakarta Indonesia. After a week of permitting, getting used to a really interesting Indonesian food world (everyone should try a Durian and Jackfruit, get your own experience), and an off-day with a snorkeling tour we arrived in our final destination Sorowako. The following days were quite exciting: getting the research house ready, check our equipment for pre-drilling-sampling, built a frame for a scientist poster as a team-building-during-strong-rain, getting used to the warm and really humid climate , getting along in the city by car and without a map, learn where to buy special tools and daily goodies, and where to get the best fried egg and cake in Sorowako. In the end of the second week we started surface sampling on Lake Towuti, a really successful and important campaign for data about the different kinds of catchments and transport conditions influenced by several inlets within the N/E/S/W lake basin. We managed it to sample almost the whole lake within four days! During the barge assemblage our sampling boat was used so we did some bedrock and soil sampling for data about the catchment and surrounding of Lake Towuti. The third week ended yesterday with the best part: First nightshift with more than 20 m core recovery! After 6 hours of technical delay due to rig problems we finally hit the lake surface and started coring. It was very exciting to label and cut the first cores. This is the base of all further data analyses about the climate and rainfall change. Hopefully, coring will be successful and we will get a lot of meters for the first regional lacrustrine, sedimentological analyses about past conditions! (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 23.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-23

    Yesterday we towed the barge from our dock in Timampu ...

    Yesterday we towed the barge from our dock in Timampu to our primary drilling site, and anchored nto position. There were a few hiccups; our anchoring boat was a bit underpowered to tow thousands of kilograms of anchor and cable line, so we had to drop the anchors a bit short. But we're in good position, only 60 meters from our intended drill site (in a really big lake). Here's a video of the action. And today, we start coring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 22.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-22

    Today we went through the final tune up of the ...

    Today we went through the final tune up of the barge, and the science team took a tour and safety briefing on the barge supervised by Beau Marshall. For families and friends of everyone here, we're working really hard to prevent any accidents or injuries to all of your loved ones! The group has gotten pretty big now (32 people, with the last three on the way), so it was a scene. After that, the group got the afternoon off to prepare themselves for 30+ days of 12-hour shifts. Some people went to the market to stock up on Oreos and Take It! bars (two fingers of chocolate). A few others transported emergency vehicles to our dock and tried to get last-minute things in the lab working. And others, such as Tim, Cody, and Justin went in search of crocodiles on the Larona River (Towuti's outlet). I would put my money on the three of them over the crocodile in a wrestling match. And we're off!!! These photos mark the launch of the drilling barge on Lake Towuti. Right now we're towing at 3 km/hr to our primary drilling site, with an ETA of 12:30 PM local time. (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 21.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-21

    And here is what a fully assembled drilling barge looks ...

    And here is what a fully assembled drilling barge looks like. Tomorrow we'll do our final system and safety checks, and Beau Marshall will run a safety briefing and tour of the barge for the entire team. There are 29 of us on site now (my head is spinning just a little bit), and there will be 32 tomorrow morning, so the briefing will be quite a scene. We expect to launch our floating drilling civilization on Friday, and I'd put big money on the first samples arriving on deck Saturday. Wish us luck! (TDP on facebook) Most of the geomicrobiologists arrived this morning by bus from Makassar. They will investigate how the unique environmental geochemistry of Lake Towuti has evolved over time via biogeochemical analyses of the drill cores. Lake Towuti stands among the world's largest iron-rich lakes, and the ophiolite surrounding the lake supplies metals that drive important biogeochemical and microbiological processes within the lake. To facilitate the analyses, the geomicrobiologists use a mobile laboratory container that was shipped from the GFZ in Germany called the BUGLab. Today, they've been busy unpacking their shipped materials and getting the BUGLab ready for action. If you've been checking our page sporadically, make sure you like our page, so you won't miss important updates from us. Things will be getting even more exciting when the drilling barge is towed to our first site on Friday „smile“-Emoticon -satrio wicaksono (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 20.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-20

    Today Ryan and I spent 6 or so hours rebuilding ...

    Today Ryan and I spent 6 or so hours rebuilding the electronics of the Mag Susc meter on the Geotek. We replaced the boards and wiring- didn't work. We replaced the various cables- didn't work. We reset all comm ports, shifting sensors cabling and other things one by one to the computer- didn't work. In the meantime, the computer failed to boot, so we had to deal with the BIOS again (for the 5th time or so). Didn't work. Then, we put the old electronics board back in the equipment. Works perfectly. You just never know. But finally, we'll get data!!! Meanwhile, the DES team has nearly finished building the barge. Time to finalize our safety review and anchoring plans, as we probably tow the barge out to our drilling sites on Thursday! (TDP on facebook)
  • (inserted: 19.05.2015 00:00)
    Towuti: 2015-05-19

    This morning we completed loading the final piece of major ...

    This morning we completed loading the final piece of major equipment onto the drilling barge. It was somehow fitting that the last thing we lifted using our enormous 220T crane was . . . (drum roll) a crane. Yes, just a small crane that we will use for loading and unloading supplies from the drilling barge. The major components are now assembled, and we are hoping to finish all of the detailed work (hooking up hydraulics, electrical systems, etc.) over the next two days. We also received the "BugLab" from the GFZ today, unpacked it, and installed it in Sorowako. There it will reside for sample processing and experimental work by the Geomicrobiology team. As you can see, getting it to the research area was an interesting experience. Our friend Pak Anto (aka Simpleman) from CKB was really helpful in this. The last photo is from yesterday. A couple of people have asked me how all those barge containers are secured together into a solid piece. As you can see from the picture, the answer is with 350 pound screws. An important aspect of the drilling project is our outreach efforts to local stakeholders. Over the past week, we have met with the Bupati (district head) and many of his staff members and subordinates to discuss our project. In addition, we had meetings with district- and subdistrict-level police officers as well as local community leaders. Curious throngs of local villagers have also been visiting our barge construction site, and we've been very much enjoying our conversations with them about or project. Given the size of the project (and the huge size of our heavy equipments), some of the people we met thought we're going to do an oil and gas exploration! Thankfully we've been able to clarify a few misconceptions some people had about our project. As the project is progressing, we would certainly like to continue our conversation with local stakeholders, as their continuous support is critical to the success of our project. A huge thanks to Sulvi Suardi and Sinyo Rio for their assistance with our local outreach efforts. -satrio wicaksono (TDP on facebook)
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