Hi! My name is Ms. Graham. I am a teacher at the Marymount School of New York. Join me as I investigate the effects of Masaya, an active volcano in Nicaragua!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hydrothermal Systems?

The complexity of volcanos continues to increase and fascinate me daily! Today I embarked on a hike through some old lava flow, up, across, and down a wooded ridge, and then back again to the main road. I truly felt "off the beaten path," and was perhaps hiking in a part of the caldera rarely seen by many other visitors. Along with a graduate student working on the project, Jeff, and a park guard named Carlos, who is well versed in the less known paths, my new friend Fred and I took conductivity measurements for 700 meters on our journey. The measurements consist of taking two readings of conductivity, as well as GPS coordinates, by inserting two electrodes into the ground and running a wire between the two. The first electrode you leave where you begin, and you continue to roll the coiled wire until about 300 meters (when you run out of wire on the coil!). The wire is marked every 20 meters, so every 20 meters, we would stop, dig a hole (which was not always easy given the amount of rock and lava in the caldera... the electrodes need soil to read conductivity!) insert the 2nd electrode, take the two readings of the conductivity instrument, and record the GPS location. Sound like a lot of work? It was! The good news is it was a bit cooler today, and I was able to practice my Spanish a bit with Carlos : )

The results... it appears that there is a hydrothermal system (system of water tables) in certain parts of the caldera, which most certainly works in conjunction with the volcano. This information serves to give us more information about the sub-structure of the volcanic area and also allows us to hypothesize about the relationship between heated water tables and volcanos. Jeff thinks (this is groundbreaking work, by the way) that when the heat and magma in the volcano increase, it serves to heat the water table around the volcano, causing the water the to rise, which ultimately may cause changes in the ground structure that we can see.

Today's wildlife sighting... two beautiful butterflies! I'll also treat you to a picture of yesterday's monkey that I was able to borrow from another volunteer.


At March 4, 2010 at 10:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great pictures Ms. Graham. Truly electrifying images! (get it-- conductivity tests...) It looks like the pattern on the wings of the butterflies could be making them look like little birds. Perhaps a trait that evolved to help them avoid predators. Mimicry is so interesting!
Ms. Seshadri

At March 5, 2010 at 12:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
We hope you are enjoying your trip! The pictures you posted look amazing! We really miss you. We cant wait for you to come back. What is your favorite part of the trip so far?

Eloise and Samantha : )

At March 5, 2010 at 12:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham
We thought that the pictures that you posted were truly amazing!
We were wondering what you do with the information after you collect it?
Charlotte W., Serina S., and Julia R.
Class 4-3
P.S. What were you doing in the first picture?

At March 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Ms. Graham
I bet you really liked the hike! I liked the trees that you posted in the blog
from Natasha
Hi Ms. Graham!
I bet it is very tiring because you are out in the hot weather all day. We all miss you very much!
-Lier McW

At March 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
We think your GPS is really cool! Can you tell us some more about them? The butterflies you showed a picture of were very pretty. Do you know what type of butterflies they are?
What kinds of tools do you use identify the types of rock on the volcano?
We miss you!

Charlotte A., Reilly McWilliams,and Emily
Class IV-2

At March 5, 2010 at 1:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ms. Graham!
Those pictures look great! Congratulations on yesterdays hike! We bet your Spanish has improved a lot! We have some questions to ask you:
What was your favorite thing about Nicaragua so far? Are you upset that you will be leaving soon? What was it like being "off the beaten path"? We bet you are tired, are you? How do you like your hotel? How do you like your team members?

It was fun seeing you on Skype!

See you soon:)
- Zoe S., Olivia M., and Melanie C.

At March 5, 2010 at 1:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann Marie B, Francesca M, and Teddy B IV-2
Hi Ms. Graham!
How are you?
Those pictures that you posted are very interesting!
How does the GPS work?
We hope you are having a good time in Nicaragua and we miss you so much!

At March 5, 2010 at 4:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ms. Graham!
it's uptown broadway. We miss you so much! We wish you were here. I Gwyneth have one question what is your favorite part about your trip?

We miss you so much
Uptown Braodway


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