Sorry for the interruption!

22 08 2008

So dear readers, I must beg your apologies. Last week I was out in the field almost every day, and then I had a trip to the hospital. The diagnosis was inconclusive, somewhere between a kidney infection and appendicitis. After a night in the Hilo hospital I was itching to get back up to HVO. I am now full of antibiotics and slightly worse for the wear, but I’m going back out in the field tomorrow! It’s a light field day, so I won’t have much chance to strain myself. It is pretty cool to go into an emergency room right after you’ve been mapping lava flows. The ER staff is a bit more impressed than they would be otherwise. Still, I don’t recommend spending your time in Hawai`i surrounded my medical professionals (unless you’re here for a conference, of course).

Ok, so here’s the amazing truck I drive for work. It’s my boss’ truck, and it has rock-crawling tires for jaunts up Mauna Loa. The front bumper has been sawed off for better clearance, too. It’s a beast.

I planned and am about one third of the way through conducting a survey of the gravity of the Ninole Hills in Kahuku Ranch on Mauna Loa’s Southwest Rift Zone. There is a gravity anomaly there that could indicate the presence of an older, proto-Mauna Loa that has since been overtaken by the new Mauna Loa. It was my boss’ idea of course, but it’s really amazing to be conducting the survey with very minimal supervision.

Over the weekend one of my entomologist friends was able to get the two of us into the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, a normally off-limits endangered bird conservation facility. Our goal was to see the Alala, or Hawaiian Crow. There are only 60 of these birds left alive in the entire world, and they are all in captivity. Breeding them is exceptionally difficult as their genetic diversity is very limited. The females have notoriously poor egg quality, and they just don’t have the survival wherewithal to make it in the wild any longer. This is probably the most rare creature I’ve ever laid eyes on, and I won’t forget the experience any time soon.

The Conservation Center has two Alalas together in the educational aviary, and they’re not a breeding pair. The male has cataracts and the female has a degenerative ovary disease. They were still beautiful and obviously intelligent birds. The female has her left leg banded and the male’s right leg is banded.

She was enjoying a thawed mouse snack, and from the way she ripped into it her wild heritage was clearly evident.

This is the male, and he barely stayed still long enough for me to snap this picture.

At any rate, there will be more geology this weekend! It’s good to be back. A special note to Sherry and Randy from FL: I hope you didn’t miss the entries too much!

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6 responses

22 08 2008
damontucker

Glad you’re back on your feet again!

22 08 2008
Kris

Take care of yourself girl, PLEASE!!

23 08 2008
Randy from Miami

Jess;

Glad you are back in business. We read your site each day, and after several days of no comments we began to think you were on laying out on some secluded beach catching rays, sipping on a margarita.

The photos and written dialog have been fantastic. Enjoy.

23 08 2008
drcorner

Wow, neither of those potential diagnosis are something to take lightly. As those prior to me have said: take it easy for the next few days/weeks, as excursion can weaken the immune system and progress infections/diseases. BTW, as always you pictures are amazing (I myself always wanted to become a Paleontologist but things sorta got in the way, more power to ya’ for following your dreams).

Speaking of conservation, did you hear about a new species, and it’s already endangered (as it’s cousin)? It’s survived Millions of years, can it survive the next 10? Please check out the article below, and comment on what your thoughts are. Thanks.

http://drcorner.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/giant-sized-fish-declared-a-new-species/

Also check out my environmental section (and comment on what interests/thought-provokes you), where I hope to help people better understand easier ways to help us improve our environment, and present a cleaner world for our future to live in. As a Geologist, I’m sure that’s something you can appreciate, as mining and other ground works take away more and more sites that scientists like yourself can visit to study. Thanks.

http://drcorner.wordpress.com/category/health-environment/

http://drcorner.wordpress.com/category/science/

24 08 2008
melissa

hope you feel better soon jess. Beautiful shots as always. Thanks for showing a glimpse into what we normally wouldn’t see.

27 08 2008
Amy aka fishgreenlittle

Wow, that sucks. When I was in Hawai’i, I got to see Waikiki’s ER. Coldest patient rooms in the world! 😀 I hope yours was warmer. And I hope you get better quickly. Neither thing is good to have.

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