AfricaArray Field School – Day 5 – Requests for bids

This morning we started off with a discussion about the work happening here are Wits (and across the continent) regarding broadband seismology. This is really the “Array” part of the AfricaArray Field School. There are 50-odd permanent seismic stations across sub-Saharan Africa, which are used to investigate the structure of the earth. These things are pretty impressive: able to detect nanometre movements over a couple of minutes. This needs some serious processing, which is something that Wits is developing/has developed the capacity for, at their new Seismic Research Centre.

The Seismic Research Centre

The temporary seismometers.

Some of these seismometers are going to be placed on temporary deployment, for between 18 and 24 months, somewhere on the western limb of the Bushveld Complex.

We then used the rest of the day to complete our request for bids, before giving a short presentation about how we would do each, and what it would cost. Sue and Ray asked us questions, about various aspects of the design of the survey and so on. I quite enjoyed this, although I was surprised at the variation in cost from group to group. I suspect some people will be losing money on these. The group I was with won, which means we get magnetic pens, and first dibs on which method we want to start with when we head out to the field tomorrow, which is pretty cool.

Tomorrow we head out to the field. The fact that we are in the Parys area means that we get to leave much later, by about 3.5 hours. So that is a plus to the new site. There are also rumours of fewer thorn bushes to hack through, and the catering is much simpler. The geochemists are going somewhere else, to do whatever it is geochemists do to poor, unsuspecting rocks…. We will be joining up with them again at the end of next week.

I should be able to keep the text updates flowing, but I will need to see what sort of internet I have in order to upload pictures.