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Day 14 (July 9, 2011): An International Team
July 9, 2011
So Jenny and I drove to Nairobi yesterday afternoon to make some preparations for our guests’ visit. The plan is, in a few days, for me to drive my Chinese colleagues out to western Kenya; it’s 9 hours away from Olorgesailie, and we can’t leave Olorgesailie short on field vehicles – so we got a rental vehicle and Jenny drove it back to camp.
A bit after 9 pm, my guests walked out of baggage claim of Kenyatta International Airport. Dr. Guo Zhengtang is an expert on ancient environments. He has studied a vast area of central China called the Loess Plateau. His studies have defined environmental shifts in that part of the world going back more than 21 million years.
Dr. He Huaiyu has built the argon dating laboratory at the Institute in Beijing. She’s really excited to see East Africa since it’s one of the best places in the world where the ash and debris erupted from ancient volcanoes can be dated precisely by the argon method.
These four colleagues are world-class scientists, very knowledgeable about many aspects of geology. In the study of fossils and artifacts, it’s all a matter of recovering things found in the ground – so geology is the foundation of our research.
What at a great reunion as we spotted one another at the airport! Although I wanted to get them settled for the evening, we could hardly stop talking about our families, friends, research, and life in general. Our first stop tomorrow is in the Rift – to Olorgesailie, their first visit to a tented research camp in Africa. We’ll explore the geology and the nature of our Kenya team’s research there in the Rift Valley of southern Kenya. And after 3 days at Olorgesailie, we’ll drive to western Kenya, a place called the Homa Peninsula, where we’ve had a team working off-and-on for some years near the shores of Lake Victoria. We’ll spend a week by the ‘Great Lake’ of Africa.