Sunday, February 25, 2007

Whose FAULT is it anyway

Tomorrow the SCA will start test pumping larger amounts of water from the aquifer. If you are a local and haven't heard about this issue you must live under a stone - Due to the great work done by Denis Wilson and his associates in promoting this problem that faces our area.

The pictures that are included in this entry are of an area that everyone who has driven the Kangaloon Rd will know quite well. It is an area that has had water crossing the road as long as I can remember - some 24 years.

The water is due to a major fault line that passes under the road allowing springs to release this water to the surface - most likely originating at the aquifer.

As you can see the road is dry, even after all the rain we have had, and has been for some time now.

Many months ago Denis asked me on a field trip so that I might have a better idea of the surrounding geology. From what I saw I arrived at a theory that these fault lines would act as a straw that would effectively drain underground water back to the point of its removal - a conjunction of fault lines on the Tourist Rd where bores are positioned, thus allowing a much larger area to be affected than previously thought. A theory I discussed with Denis at the time.

Soon after, at a REPS meeting, I was able to get a map from Leon, good on ya mate, showing fault lines in the area. This map I passed on to Denis, and it may be viewed on his August blog of last year.
It is my belief that this now dry section of road is evidence that this theory has some weight.

When a fault is charged with water, it is buffered somewhat as water cannot be compressed.
If water is removed - so is the buffer.
This has the potential to cause movement in the fault.

Recently I was talking with a woman from Kangaloon who said she experienced a tremor event that, while quite possibly localised to her area, shook her house quite violently.

She tried soon after to get water from her tap, only to find that mud came out.
It seems that the movement she experienced had affected her bore.

This all happened BEFORE the recent rains.

She also informed me that authorities had told her previously that if her bore dried up, water would be supplied to her at no cost.

This information, with the woman's contact details, was passed on to Denis so that it could perhaps be incorporated into his strategy for halting this project.

Although this site is dedicated to the natural world, I cannot claim to be a naturalist. I can claim to be an amateur geologist, having started at the age of 4, sitting on my dad's lap, studying gemstones and the formations in which they reside.
Some may have alternate reasons for the tremor that was reported and I have no doubt that water passing through porous layering can cause movement - a process I have witnessed firsthand as a plumber, though this event happened before the recent heavy rains.

Not only do we face potential drying up of the area, but perhaps large earth tremors as well.

The Geology of this area is delicate. Only time will tell if I am correct in my assumptions.
Lets hope I am wrong.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Recycling the insect way

In what has been described to me as a quite rare moment to capture, this Katydid was caught in the act of eating its shed exoskeleton.

This insect emerged from its final moult, having gone through a number of them previously, and proceeded to eat the shed skin as it inflated and dried its new form.

Each shed brings about a new stage called 'instars' until the adult form is reached.

Thank you to Denis for the research and enthusiasm.

This guy is, of course, not an insect.
Spiders are great recyclers though.
They will often eat waste silk.

This one caught in the act of building a early morning web, with the hind leg just about to pick up the web from the spinnerets and fix it to one of the strands radiating from the centre.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Reptiles pick up pace

Well summer is almost over, and reptiles are starting to prepare for the arrival of winter.

At the end of hibernation, reptiles will be quite active in the spring regaining weight losses, though will slow somewhat over the summer and then pick up the pace in the months before winter to build up fat reserves.

This slowing over summer could be due to the hot weather - they can overheat easily.

This is not a steadfast rule with all reptiles, as Ruby the Coastal Carpet Intergrade would happily point out if she did not have her mouth full.
She has been a guts for food all year round and must be kept on a firm dieting regime to avoid her getting too fat to move.
Seen here swallowing a large rat tail first, not the wisest thing to do, she will sit poised for a feed as soon as she feels the vibration of your approach.
It is recommended that hatchling snakes be kept warm enough to eat over winter- a min temp of around 20 Degrees - dependant on the species, though adult snakes should be allowed to hibernate and no food should be supplied during this time.
Limited heat should be offered, as reptiles will come out occasionally to get a little warmth even during times of hibernation.
Please only purchase food for your reptile that has been dispatched in line with RSPCA guidelines, keeping in mind that live food may cause your reptile harm. Ever seen the teeth on a rat?
All reptiles require a licence from NPWS - It is illegal to keep them without one.
Check out the NPWS link for details.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Forest blooms after rain

After the rain, a rain forest is the place to be to spot fungal blooms.

Robertson's last remaining pockets of such forest are alive at the moment with a myriad of fungal forms, as well as creatures taking advantage of the damp sun dappled conditions.

After school my daughters Rhiannon and Aeron accompanied me on a scouting trip to see what we could find

It is most important that these areas are disturbed as little as possible, so as to maintain them in as pristine a condition as we can. When visiting it is important to keep to the track taking only photos and leaving only footprints.

The work done by local land care groups has been essential in the preservation of these areas - Keeping grasses and weeds from invading often subtle and delicate systems.

These tiny fungi pictured are growing on stems no bigger than a hair. The trunk on which they grow is mattered with such hairs and only flowers when conditions are right for spore dispersal.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Day the sky fell

Standing at the doors of the Fettlers Shed at 6pm Sat, the exhibitors of the Summer Break Exhibition watched the massive thunderheads roll in from the north east. Rain started falling some time around 8.30pm as we all moved to the Bowling Club for BJ and Bonies farewell concert.
(Great night Bones!)

My thanks to Karen and Lou for the range of tasty treats available at the exhibition opening. 4 hours prep in the kitchen did not go to waste (neither did any of the food).
Thanks also to all who came, helping make the inaugural summer exhibition idea such a success.
We look forward to having the Fettlers Shed full of great art next summer break with many other exhibitions planned before that. It will soon be possible to view these online with the Fettlers blog site underway. Artists are invited to link their Blogs to this site and to use it to promote their exhibitions.

The lightning and rain went well into the night and next day with hardly a let-up.

Around 1pm on the Sunday I decided to head out to Bowral.

The rain had eased to steady as I took Kangaloon Road.

The waterfall pictured here was taken as I climbed to East Kangaloon. My average speed was 20Km/h as the high side of the road put on a scaled down version of Victoria Falls for the length of my ascent. My apologies for the droplets on the lens, unavoidable even though the shot was taken inside the car.

It seems super moist air, driven by a high pressure system, hit the escarpment from the NE and cooled.

This gave the massive rainfall experienced. This process could be observed happening with the "live" radar image available by the link to Mittagong weather.

Clouds with low rainfall really picked up as they passed the coastal plain to the highlands - increasing precipitation from light blue to, at times, dark orange on the scale used.

Quite an amount of water fell over catchment areas, though Robbo seemed to get the lions share over the Sat/Sun period. Robbo also receiving 152mm 9am Sun/9am Mon.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Flying the Coup

The last of the Magpie hatchlings are getting the boot from their nests at the moment with a few still getting a feed such as this one pictured.
Magpies pair off for mating, with excess males joining a gang of birds that will pack hunt food.
Earlier in the season we had a young bird that believed it should still have its food supplied. It adopted us to the extent of being a regular visitor in the kitchen should we leave the back door open even a little.
If you feed native birds it is best to check the correct food types for them - remembering that your help may artificially swell numbers beyond their natural limits causing a food shortage if you decide to stop.