On July 31st 2014, I boarded a 15 hour plane ride with both my advisers, Dr. Sarah Carmichael and Dr. Johnny Waters, to Seoul, South Korea where we would then board our connecting flight to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The sunset I saw that night while boarding the flight to Ulaanbaatar was the most incredible sunset I have ever seen in my life:
I took this as a sign the adventure I had ahead of me would be incredible, little did I know just how incredible.
Around midnight, we landed in the Chinggis Khaan airport in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where our soon-to-be dear friend, Odkhuu (who went by the nickname “Star Boy”), picked us up holding a sign “IGCP 596&580.” Him, Seshma, and Ariuka would be the ones who kindly drove us from the airport to our hotel in Ulaanbaatar. Let me tell you, landing at midnight and being able to go right to sleep helped GREATLY in dealing with the 12-hour time change between my home and Mongolia.
The next four days were spent in Ulaanbaatar at the IGCP 596&580 group meeting. I presented on the geochronology research work I did while at the University of Chapel Hill, “Zircon Age Dating of the Heishantou Formation (now Zhulumute).” This was the first professional talk I had ever given, and although I was nervous, I am glad to say it was a success!
Here is an official group photo of everyone at the conference (taken right before the city had a major blackout and we had to postpone the meeting for a couple of hours until the power returned):
In this photo, there are paleontologists, geochemists, stratigraphers, sedimentologists, cyclostratigraphers, and more. It was a great group of people to learn since many of them had expertise in areas of geology I was not strong in. Through their knowledge, I was able to widely broaden my own in many different aspects.
After two days of presentations, we had a free day where we got to tour the city of Ulaanbaatar:
After our last day in the city, it was time for us to prepare to board a 4 am flight and head out to the western part of Mongolia for 10 days of fieldwork! Bring it on!