Thursday, April 14, 2011

Diary of a new site build - day 4

Fitting the solar panels and building the fence
Finally the sun came out!

The finished site
 Day four was an interesting one, by the time we drove out to Ruatahuna it was raining really hard! And as much as we wanted to turn around and drive back to our warm hotel rooms, we all put our wet-weather gear on and drove (Rhino) up to the site. Lara and i got to work digging the post holes for the fence, while the boys started fixing the solar panels to the framing, and putting the satellite dish up. The cabinet was then put in place, this houses all of the wiring, batteries and a strong-motion instrument (called a Basalt - apparently its from the 'rock series' of equipment!) . And we could then finish the fence, its job to keep out the nosy cattle - sheep are ok as they keep the grass down!

The rain finally eased up and the wind decided to add to the fun! So running after stray equipment and cement bags as well as trying to keep the tarpaulins over our gear was amusing.

Unfortunately due to the bad weather all week it wasn't possible to completely finish the site, so a couple of technicians are heading back out next week to wire up the solar panels and the vault to the cabinet. And install the strong and weak-motion instruments, that will do all of the earthquake recording!

A more detailed story on the site build will be in the next issue of the GeoNet News, including the science involved and how the site was chosen.
The finished vault

View to the site from the 4WD track

Pretty solar panels all ready to soak up the sun

FINISHED! We did think about GNS but decided YMCA was easier!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Diary of a new site build - Days 2/3

Shopping list for the trip:

3 tonnes of concrete mix
Timber  (8 6m 4x2, 10 1.8m 4x4, 38m 4x1)
Metal Cabinet (1.5m x 1.5m x 0.65m)
6 125W Solar Panels
Solar Panel Frame (lots of steel piping!)
50m of Alkathine Piping
1 x concrete mixer
1 x generator
Tools - LOTS! 
3 x 4WD vehicles
2 x trailers
1 x Rhino (See Photo 1)
1 x Helicopter
4 x GeoNetters

Ruatahuna is a two hour drive from Rotorua with most of the drive a winding unsealed road through the forest.  Day 2 started with rain, lots of it! The site was at the top of a hill on farmland and was a 15min Rhino ride on a 4WD track up and around the hills. Due to the weather,a helicopter and concrete was out of the equation so it took quite a few trips to get the gear up to the site, then we could start the digging! Daniel was hard at work on the vault while Lara and i started on the 15m trench, and Sam was in charge of bringing up the gear in the Rhino. By the end of the day we were all very wet and tired, although the rain did give us a break for lunch! (What a way to spend my birthday!)

The Rhino!

The base at the bottom of the hill

Daniel digging the vault in the rain

Is that heading our way?

Trench - girls can dig great!

All that digging is hard work!

The site

Day 3 was fine! Cold, windy but the sun did peek out at times.  The helicopter was called and took the heavy gear - concrete, timber, cabinet and solar panels (and i snuck on!) up to the site. We then got the vault and base for the equipment cabinet, ready and mixed up the concrete - lots of it! Once the concreting was all done we started assembling the frame for the solar panels, then packed up just before the darkness set in.

Dropping off some gear

Daniel 'Boxing' up the vault

Hard at work!

Now we are all off to bed all ready for another long day in the field. 
PS - we did let Daniel out of the vault hole!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Diary of a new site build.

This week we are following the building of a new National Network site Ruatahuna (HERE)

Today the team of 4 (including me!!) drove up in a GNS convoy to Rotorua, and dropped some gear out at the site in Ruatahuna, which is South-East of Rotorua via some beautiful native forest and very windy gravel roads!

Its looking to be a very wet day tomorrow as we begin the build,  watch this space.....

Convoy loading up with Diesel 
There  were lots of horses roaming around

and it was very 'Gorillas in the Mist'