Lab Work: Core logs and Magnetic Susceptibility

As I wrote in my last post, when we returned from field work, I had many cores to process before selecting the cores that I am focusing on for my thesis. Each core we collected in the field had to be split, and we selected one half as a “working half” to be sampled and the other as an “archive” which will be stored for future reference. After splitting each core, I completed a core log, describing the visual properties of the sediment in addition to the length of each core section. This first step, describing changes with depth in the core, is used as a reference for sampling and identifying different units (sections of the core with similar sedimentation history) within the core.

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Field Work: Coring Lakes in Lofoten, Norway

In northern Norway, general trends of sea level lowering throughout the Holocene have been developed, with sea level in this area lowering ~10m over the past 6000 years. However, the details of this lowering are poorly constrained during the late Holocene (the past ~5000 years) (Møller, 1986). For my senior research project, I am studying sediment records from isolation basins (coastal lakes characterized by their past connection to and isolation from the sea due to relative sea level changes) in Lofoten, Norway. Using these sediment cores, I hope to better constrain the rate and magnitude of sea level lowering during the late Holocene in Norway and to understand how these changes may have affected human activity (think: Vikings) in Lofoten.

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Almost done!

Me and a giant wild grape vine

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A Walk in the Park

A typical day of fieldwork generally starts around 9:30am, by which time the heat and humidity has already set in. Sometimes I meet a volunteer, usually a longtime Richmond resident who has kindly volunteered to show me around their favorite park and its plants, but mostly I head out by myself. With me, I carry a checklist with all the species I’ve seen so far, a waterproof notebook where I record the details of each collection, a pocket magnifier, and an nearly antique vasculum, found in an old Millington cabinet. A vasculum is a cylindrical, metal container used to hold fresh plant specimens.

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James River Flora

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