Life, and roads traveled

So what is it like doing field research at the center of the largest plateau on Earth? Well, getting there and surviving daily life is half the battle.

(A paved road leading from Xining, Qinghai Province)

(our caravan navigating a river crossing in western Tibet. Credit: Xiaoming Wang)

The path to great fossil localities is often littered with hazards. In addition to large trucks that never stop, there are weather conditions that might span the four seasons (and then some) in a single day.

(A stunned driver looking through the wreckage of our vehicle which has just flipped and rolled off an elevated two-lane highway)

Our field areas span an elevational range from about 3000 m to almost 5000 m (we routinely feel like we are on top of the world and the bottom of the sky)

(A lonely mountain pass in western Tibet adorned by prayer flags)

Although we are equipped with camping equipment, we would often times stay in local hostels to avoid the harsh elements; the accommodations are always five stars in China.

(A cautious Gary Takeuchi [LACM] attempts to unscrew a hot light bulb so we could sleep)

Meals are always a joy, and are heavily anticipated events. How many times do you get to light up a gasoline stove in the trunk of a Jeep Cherokee, and watch your advisor fry up eggs (from a distance)?

(Xiaoming [LACM] busts a move on a couple dozen of eggs)

The field expedition always constitutes a bonding experience for its crew members, through snow and hail, eggs and sausages, and whatever challenges might face us.

(2005 field crew at the base of the Yuzhu Peak, Qinghai Province, China)

Check back soon for Part II: Fossil hunting on the open terrain


Diana said...

impressive, jack, as expected, look forward learning more from you guys!

Zhijie (Jack) said...

Thanks! We really hope to make our field season interactive this year; this will be a lot of fun!