June 19, 2017

Crazy Day Indeed!

Wow ok, so I gotta be honest in writing this post.  Today was quite a day.  To be fair it was a Monday, and that's probably why it was so crazy.
Regardless, its a whole new experience for me to understand the pressure of a project.  Up till now things had been pretty relaxed at work which was great.  But honestly I like being busy more.  While sometimes that involves being frantic, I'm definitely sharper and on my game on those busy days.

However, being busy at a grocery store and being busy with a project that is your own are two different types of busy.  The first is more what you would feel when everyone else is looking to you to be on time which is to be expected with customers.  But being busy and under pressure from your project is more what it feels like when you overbook your calendar... Because everything you planned is still under your control and your success depends on you.  There may be other people at the company expecting results... but when you know you have something due based on your own deadline, there's no body to point fingers at.

While pointing fingers and throwing blame has never been my thing and its not at all what I'm looking for today, it really​ just makes me realize.  I'm in charge of this.  Yes I have the help and support of everyone I'm working with (thank God), yes I am only an intern, but if I want to say I succeeded in my own eyes, it's really up to me.  I guess this applies to a lot of things, but it really hit home today.

Yes, today was insane.  The craziness was a good change of scenery but still not a pleasant experience.  Lots of things went unnecessarily wrong that were outside my control.  There were several people that helped me sort out the kinks and for that I am extremely grateful.  But ultimately this project ​is up to me, and I will be responsible for making it succeed.

I can do this!

June 15, 2017

First Several Weeks at Barrick

Hello again!

Once again I'm consistently bad at writing these posts to keep up with my life.  But of course, now that I've been hit with a cold I have time to sit down and catch up with stuff.

I wanted to play catch up with my first several weeks at Barrick!

The first week was all training.  While the material was for the most part pretty dry stuff and it was a lot of slideshows in a dark room (zzz...), our trainer was an awesome guy who did his best to make it interactive and not boring.  This was very appreciated haha.  The scary stories people told about mining accidents and how easily they happen was probably the worst part... But it makes you think about everything you do.  It makes you realize that something you take for granted that might not immediately affect you, could kill someone else.  And while that is scary to think about not only your life but the lives of friends being in your hands, it is important.  It really fits with their motto, "Everyone going home safe and healthy everyday."


After training we took a tour of the mine.  The mine sits in Golconda, NV, but originally the land around it was part of the tiny town of Getchell.  We toured what remains of the town... there are a total of like 4 buildings, including a school house on Barrick's property.  The mine operation at the Getchell mine started in the 1930's, originally as an open pit gold mine.  When WWII started it was the only gold mine that stayed open, but not for gold purposes.  Because of the geology of the area there are a lot of hydrothermal minerals, including arsenopyrites.  In layman's terms, this means that we have incredible high levels of arsenic in the rock.  Therefore it was used for mining arsenic for the war.  While its no longer mined for this reason, the extreme levels still pose a hazard to all the miners in the form of dust.  Every miner is required to take a urine test for these levels on a regular basis to check if they are too high.

After a while, other companies purchased the area and started the underground operations.  These were very dangerous in those days, not only because of the technology used to mine the area but because of the ground itself.  The area is well known for its very unstable and gravely terrain.  After killing just as many miners in the surface pit as underground (which is a very high statistic), it became known as the 'widowmaker mine.'  Kinda scary right?  Well thanks to modern technology and shotcrete, the underground is a much, much safer place... the surface pit is no longer used because of instability.

Touring the underground was like a giant maze.  Let me just tell you, there are a lotttt of tunnels and headings and station names that I'm still struggling to remember.  As a geologist though, the mine was much less exciting than I thought.  All the walls (ribs) and ceilings (back) are covered with shotcrete to make them stable, so there is not very much real rock for me to look at.  Except at the headings (headings are the ends of the tunnels where they dig the ore out, btw).  The headings are orange and black streaked with white sometimes.  The black is the carbonaceous ore, the orange is orpiment and the red is realgar, while the white is usually dasite which is a granite-y type rock.


My official project this summer is to study and fill in gaps related to the high carbon values in our mine.  Why it is there? We don't really know.

Anyway, hopefully this has been a good catch up! Hope nobody else is fighting a cold during the summer (which, by the way, is the dumbest thing ever).

Stay safe, friends!

(Disclaimer: None of the images belong to me this time.  Rare, I know.)

May 16, 2017

First Day!

Well, today was my first day!  To be honest it was a lot of paperwork and MSHA training.  We got up at 3:45 this morning... Well, I woke up at 2:45, my roommate didn't get any sleep really.  We got ready to go and drove to the parking lot where busses were supposed to pick us up.  We found a line of miners waiting for a bus so we joined the ranks.  A few minutes later we realized that those were the wrong busses... These were going to Elko. That was not where we wanted to go haha.

The real busses were across the parking lot and labeled Barrick.  Funny how that works.  We got on in two of the last seats.  As we started off, a guy from security who had been asleep behind us spoke to us, probably noticing that we were new.  "You can recline the seats if you want, they don't go very far but it might feel better." We took his advice and he promptly went back to sleep.  The ride took about 40 minutes to get us to the mine.  On the way there we saw an amazing sunrise.  The pictures I have, taken through grimy windows, don't do it justice.  There were so many shades or purple and orange, it was beautiful​.


The bus driver told us where to get off and where to go, and as we left the bus the looming mine shaft in the distance rang its bell.  I can't quite describe how I felt just then, a mix of tired, terrified, and thrilled.

We went inside, I said hello to my supervisor, and we were all ushered downstairs.  6 interns in total this round.  There were apparently more coming later.  We started in on one of many talks and slideshows about paperwork and safety, policies and protocols.  Its honestly a little scary hearing all the horror stories and warnings and safety measures we have to remember.  After 9 hours of this we were done for the day.  My supervisor found me in the waiting room and asked me to follow him.

Even though today was filled with essential learning, he gave me a taste of what I would be working with.  Using a program called Vulcan, they had mapped everything about the mine, its grades, ore quality, and more.  It's so interesting to see the bigger picture of geology besides the close up of the individual rocks.  I'm so excited to return.


May 15, 2017

When Do I Start?

Hello again! Over the course of the last few days I haven't done much haha. I saw a lizard and some quails though!


 I caught up on some things I wanted to do and then... Well proceeded to be frustrated with the bad wifi and basically sat around. Let's just say I caught up on a lot of Supernatural haha!

While my parents were here we also drove by the sand dunes.  Did you know there were sand dunes in Nevada?? I did not.   I'm still amazed.


Also, check out this sunset! 


Eventually my roommate got here and got all moved in.  We finally got everything put away and settled the next day.  Then we proceeded to spend the next day sitting around watching more TV. Let's just say we haven't had a chance to figure out Winnemucca yet.  

Anyway, we start tomorrow.  Our first crazy early morning! I'm excited to finally get started! We got this.  Wish us luck haha.

May 10, 2017

Welcome to Winnemucca, NV

Alright! I've made it to Winnemucca!

The drive was very long... 12 hours overall with some stops.  I was exhausted last night haha.  Getting up at 4AM and then driving on four hours of sleep is not the greatest.  We went through Wyoming which was very boring, and then through Utah and Nevada.  I had never been to Utah before, and I have to say I'm very impressed.

The landscape was so mountainous and green, and there was so much cool geology! Also if you've never seen it, the great salt lake is MASSIVE.  It was also really interesting driving by it, there were little messages and pictures traced out in the salt with rocks.  It was cute driving by and seeing "I love you" and peace signs and hearts.  I remember​ seeing something about Trump too.  Gave me something to look at besides just salt.

So far Nevada seems rather dull.  There aren't many trees around here, just dirt and scrubby bushes.  It is the desert after all. Winnemucca is a very, very small town with very little going on except puns and events that make fun of the town name.  You'd be surprised how many ways you can use the word Winnemucca.


When we got to where I'll be living it didn't seem like much, but aside from some minor maintenance fixes, the place where I'm living is pretty darn nice! :)

After unloading my stuff we went out to the Martin Hotel for dinner.  They served a variety of Basque foods and all of it was delicious.  They had the weirdest food combo I've ever tried: salad with beans on top and salt, garlic powder, and pepper on top of that.  It was sooooo good.  Like I would eat it again in a heartbeat.


I also discovered that Winnemucca has some funny street names... They have Melarkey Street, Potato Road, Potato Place, and West Potato Road. There is also Haskel Street for any programmers out there, haha.

I'm planning on meeting my boss for dinner tonight to meet him before the big day next Tuesday!

I am both terrified and excited for everything going on.   Now to unpack my life for the umpteenth time and get settled in.  I'll keep posting updates!


May 09, 2017

And They're Off!

Finally headed out to Nevada! I'll explain more about my internship in about 13 hours.

May 08, 2017

Latest Adventure: Barrick Internship

Hello everyone! I wanted to get back into the habit of making posts, so this is the start of many this summer.  

This year I was offered an internship with the world's top gold producer, Barrick Gold.  I will be in Nevada working on geology underground at the Turquoise Ridge mine! I'm very excited but also very nervous!  Having never been underground before, this will be a very new experience.  I will keep everyone posted on my adventures in this newest chapter of life. :)