Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Some like it hot!

Near the town of Pala on the island of Atauro, there is a group of intertidal hot springs from which we collected samples for a project aiming to build a global chemical database of hot spring waters. Luis and Dr. Larry are working to extract the water (with a plastic syringe) and squirt it into a jar. They have to be careful though because the water is a piping ~60 degrees Celsius!

The water flows right out of the ground and the source is physically accessible for sampling only during low-tide. Imagine a gentle, steamy water fountain that has low pressure and would require you to kiss the spout to get a drink.

In order to better understand the geology of the hot spring, Dr. Larry took to smashing some of the in-place igneous rocks and our team (from left: Luis, Cooper and Meghan) gathered round to describe and name the rock and its constituent minerals. 

Some friendly locals stopped by to smile and watch our sampling and rock battering deeds. Apparently, local fishermen and fisherwomen will cook their catches directly in the springs! It's certainly believable - that water was scalding. 

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