Striking dark and light stripes appeared in the core. We oohed and aahed. Like tree rings, these patterns record past events. Floods, droughts, fires, phytoplankton, algae, invading forests, and drifting pollen all leave their marks in the bottom of lakes. Scientists use a variety of methods to drill down into them and pull up layers upon layers of history.
|This is the posed photo.|
|But then they just got super focused and genuinely excited about the layers in the core!|
|The pale layers are at least partially composed of calcium carbonate precipitated by algae called chara. They are useful for reserach, and interesting, too. Not only can you get an idea of how shallow the water was when chara was growing there, the oxygen isotopes in them can tell you about the climate history of the lake.|
|Emmy and Annie work together to package up and record data on a core.|
|Ellie the leader!|
|Ed Berg provided valuable help and local knowledge. He's helped with coring before, but on his own he mostly cores peat out of bogs!|
|It's a team effort. Here, Annie wipes goopy mud out of Ellie's hair while Ellie has her hands full with a fresh core.|
Annie—her face flexing frequently from goofy grins to intense focus—seemed to thrive on problem-solving and the mechanical processes of coring. “It’s fun to think about problems on your feet,” she told me, “and we get to use lots of hardware and fun toys.” Just before starting graduate school, Annie was working at an afterschool program in Oakland, California. The kids were devastated that she was leaving, even after she told them she’d be getting a Masters in Mud.
|Annie gets the biggest kick out of using the chain hoist to pull up heavy cores from the bottom of the lake!|
|Annie was in charge of making sure there were always snacks on the boat.|
|Whitecaps on Kelly Lake.|