Helicopter ride to 13,000 feet.

3 07 2008

Here’s a big surprise: I’m exhausted yet again! Today was another early day, but lurching out of bed at an ungodly hour was for a good cause. You get a picture story because I’m not feeling particularly articulate right now.

Express service!

Our ride arrived quite dramatically.

The Pacific\'s out there.

Once we had liftoff, the view towards Hawai’i’s eastern coast just opened up.

Mauna Kea

To the northwest I could see Mauna Kea and the Northeastern Rift Zone (NERZ). The NERZ is where lava erupted through one of Mauna Loa’s flanks and poured down towards the town of Hilo.

Lava flows.

The different types of lava flows are readily observed when you’re up in the air.

What we were here to do.

The helicopter dropped us off and went to move the other team of geologists working on the mountain. I was with a volcanologist who wasn’t afraid of taking pictures of me. Check out my stylish flight suit. In this scene I was recording our location with a GPS (global positioning system).

Aw yeah.

It just doesn’t get any cheesier or cooler than this.

Inside the caldera.

After we were done collecting our samples, the pilot flew us back down by way of the caldera. The small cone in the middle of the caldera was created during Mauna Loa’s 1940 eruption. So cool.

The helicopter was one of the most fun things I’ve ever experienced. Flying over the world’s largest mountain in a helicopter (with no doors) on your way to do research is just a surreal activity. Ok, probably more to come. I need sleep, but there’s a 3.5-day weekend just ahead!

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4 responses

3 07 2008
melissa

I’m so jealous, a helo? You look great by the way. I can’t believe this is your gig for the summer.

3 07 2008
Mom

What a jock you are!! Too cool!!! The latent geologist in me is living vicariously through you. You’re the best daughter ever!
Love, Mom

4 07 2008
Cassandra

Woooooooooooooo! I expect “Jess the Geologist” action figures coming this fall, in preparation of Christmas. Complete with thumbs-up pose and helmet… helicopter sold seperately.

5 07 2008
Amehana

You are doing something that I wanted to do. With kids now I won’t get a chance, but it’s really cool to get to see someone else live the dream. Thanks for sharing all this, it’s great.

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