Andrew Rate - Finding my balance...
Here, ostensibly, I am sampling sediment in a small flood-control basin along the South Yunderup stormwater main drain in Western Australia. At this point, though, I was just trying not to face-plant in the mud (the black, oozy consistency of which can be seen adhering to my thigh wader boots). I’m not normally averse to some mud on my skin and clothes, but this section of the stormwater drain receives an acidic, metal-rich brew of leachate from an adjacent acid sulfate soil originating from histrical dredge spoil from the nearby Peel Inlet and residential canal excavation in the South Yunderup township. In the anoxic conditions of the drain, the leachate precipitates black, smelly, iron monosulfides with the consistency (but definitely not the flavour) of chocolate mousse.
We discovered the joys of this drain in an earlier project, and it was so geochemically interesting that we just had to come back for more. I’m not sure why I end up doing some of the dirty work for my PhD students (one of whom took this photo), but I guess, as a multiple repeat-offender, I must like it.
And, if you’re wondering (a) no, I didn’t fall into the hideous mud, and (b) yes, I did retrieve the sediment core (left apparently forgotten to the right of the image). Read more about my research on my ResearchGate page