It was hot today. The Lab’s own thermometer had the temperature at 102.97°F. Some of us came in to work early in order to get everything up and running in enough time. Unfortulately, everything took much longer than planned. In the OSL we have a cart called the DAQ, or Data Acquisition Cart, which has a bunch of different instruments on it, including a Laser, Sonar, and Ultrasonic (“Massa”) sensor. I spent most of the morning fine-tuning the calibration of the Sonar and Massa with one of the tech guys from the lab, and we finally got it working as it should.
Then we ran a scan (or, really, a series of 8 scans) across a section of the stream, with the flow turned up. After this scan, we turned the water back down, because one of the structures we had installed (rocks in the stream) had become dislodged. I jumped into the water just downstream from the structure, wearing my rubber boots, and sank in over my hips! This was an area of the stream that we were able to walk in without getting wet with boots on just an hour prior. My feet got kind of stuck in this quicksand-like mixture at the bottom of the stream, and I had to crawl onto land to escape. Pretty thrilling! I think this may be a picture of it:
We wanted to get more scans done, and each set of scans took ~50 minutes to complete. So, I thought I’d just help get the structure fixed, turn up the flow, and start my scan, after which I’d be able to run off and get lunch.
Unfortunately, the damn tent blew away. It was staked in with foot-long metal spikes, yet somehow the wind wrenched it loose. The tent is there to protect the DAQ from the elements, but when the wind flipped the tent up the bottom of the tent frame caught on two poles from the DAQ, and tipped the extremely heavy (we use 4-6 people to move it inches and feet each day) cart until it was at 90 degrees, with instruments flying off.
The instruments on this cart are very expensive, in the thousands of dollars range, so as I saw it perched on its side, I was slightly perturbed to say the least. I ran over and yanked out all the power plugs as soon as I saw it stand on end, because the last thing we needed was someone being electrocuted. We got it back down and surveyed the damage. One metal box had gone for a swim, but thankfully there did not seem to be any expensive equipment in it. We are drying out the equipment in the sun before we try anything out, because we want to try to avoid frying anything that isn’t already fried.
Thankfully, it was 103 degrees out today.