July 15: Susan Machan, Andrew Poulin(field technician for Microseismic Industry Consortium), and myself left for Grande Prairie for a decommissioning trip to take down some seismic stations and as a “fun” side trip obtain some soil sample from the Fox Creek area. The soil sample side trip was to obtain samples for German Rodriguez-Pradilla, who was looking to analyze them for a paper he is working on studying the effects of soil amplification and its effects on seismic amplitude. The trip up to Grande Prairie was uneventful withe exception of the odd bathroom break or stop for food. When we reached Grande Prairie I was a little awestruck though, the last time I had been there, when I was still working in industry as a directional driller, the town was a buzz with action. In 2012 the traffic here use to be almost as bad as Calgary, but instead of commuters was usually congested with industry related traffic of all kinds, from rig moving heavy haulers to company trucks of all kinds. We pretty much had choice of where to stay, we spent the night in a small motel towards the end of the strip on the west side of town.
June 16: We headed out early for site WAPA, west of Grande Prairie for our first decommissioning site. Decommissioning involved the dismantling of monitoring equipment installed at each site which consisted of a seismonitor, mounted equipment box, as well as monitoring equipment attached to seismonitor.
This first site was a bit of a challenge. At each site the seismonitor was concealed within a steel corrugated culvert buried about 3ft in the ground, so this had to be dug out as well as the seismonoitor. At this particular site as well as being buried, the area was over grown with quack grass to this made digging it out a bit challenging, as well as the ground being made up of heavy wet clay. At the end of removing each seismonitor, the remaining hole had to be filled in and seeded. Once we were done we cleaned up the site and headed north to Peace River for the night and the take down of WAPA site the next day.
June 17: As in Grande Prairie we woke up early had breakfast, but first had to track down a dump to unload the garbage from the previous days site. this turned out to be quit the adventure as we had to head a short distance north of town which was the opposite way we had to go to get to site MANA. Once we accomplished unloadingwe then back tracked back to town and headed towards Manning, this site was located on a small experimental farm run by U of A.
Unlike WAPA this take down was easy and took little to no time and with in a couple of hours were on our way to White Court to spend the night before going on our soil sample gathering adventure by Fox Creek.
June 18: Woke up, had breakfast and headed for Fox Creek. Once there we headed south down the Big Stone Road and to the Tony Creek road which was to be our first soil gathering site, it was rained out plus we spotted a cougar down the road so decided not to walk it either. The next site seemed accessible,as it was a little ways from the main road so hiked in. With little to no issues we gathered a couple of soil samples and headed back to the truck to leave. Being the most experienced with the area, as I use to work in this area lots when i use to work in the petroleum field, i forgot just how soft the shoulders get when there is a heavy rain which we had the night before.
When we went to leave we got a little stuck, luckily some field operators stopped and helped get us out. We then headed to the next site for our next sample.
After a long walk at our next site we gathered our next set of samples with no problems. moving forward the rest of the sites seemed inaccessable due to muddy rods so we threw in the towel so to speak and headed to Athabasca for the night before taking down our last site at the University of Athabasca.
June 19: Woke up and had our usual breakfast before heading out for our last site of this trip.
The last site was located close to the University of Athabasca’s observatory, and was the easiest site to take down. Within a couple of hours we were done and on our way home.