Mission & Objectives
Scientists & Crew
Interviews: Geologist Bob Reynolds
Holding a tag line tight, Bob helps deploy the rock dredge.
Bob Reynolds had to make an important decision. The year
was 1990 and he had just completed his masters degree in geology
from the University of Idaho. He had spent 13 years in the petroleum
industry drilling for oil and was now looking to start work in the
mining industry. Thats when Denny Geist arrived in town from Hamilton
College, in Clinton, N.Y. I was new to the University of Idaho
and I was looking for a good student, Denny says.
offered Bob a research project working in the Galápagos mapping
geologic features that had never been mapped before. I weighed
the decision for about two weeks, Bob says. It would mean starting
a Ph.D. thesis at the age of 36 and he wasnt sure what his employment
opportunities would be when he finished. Ive always believed
that education provides opportunities and, if you dont do it, those
opportunities wont be there for you, Bob says. I thought
the Galápagos was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and, in
the mining industry, I would probably never have the chance to travel
there. He accepted Denny's offer.This is now my sixth
|Bob chips glass off rock samples in the hangar.
logistics of planning that first expedition, to Isabelas Sierra Negra
volcano, was probably most challenging experience Ive had,
Bob says. I didnt know what to expect. We had no automobiles,
and had to move everything either by horse or carry it. I had a student
from Ecuador and it was just the two of us for a month by ourselves.
We ate mostly crackers and canned tuna, rice and oatmeal.
very different working on land in the Galápagos than at sea.
We could see the outcrops, so its not quite the guessing game it
is when youre looking at it through 3,000 meters of water. But the
trouble was walking. Sierra Negra is mostly aa lava, which is loose,
crumbly and painful to walk across. Your knees, ankles and feet are
always at odd angles, twisting and turning. Youre constantly losing
|Los Tiberones performing their pyramid routine with Bob in the middle.
We would start at 7 a.m. and work till 4 p.m. collecting samples.
At night on Sierra Negra we would camp on the summit in the garúa
cloud banks. The garúa can be pretty miserable stuff: windy
and wet and everything is damp. The only other place as harsh and
remote is the high Arctic of northern Canada.
Bob is able to make the comparison because he spent six years in the
petroleum industry drilling through the ice sheets of the Arctic Ocean
into the seafloor. He was working on wildcat oil wells. The operations
would wait until winter, when the ice was locked together. We
were sitting on a frozen sea, he says. ;It was really odd,
to fly from Calgary and land on a piece of ice. It was not always
smooth ice, sometimes it would be crumpled in ridges, but all you
could see for as far as you could see was ice. You got the feeling
you were somewhere distant, truly exotic, but not where everyone would
want to go. It was really raw nature.
Other oil jobs took Bob - a native of Titusville, Penn., the birthplace
of the oil industry in America - to Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil,
Scotland, Ireland and Italy. I would always travel on my own
by bus after a job to see the country, Bob says. Now, as a
professor of Geology and Oceanography at Central Oregon Community
College, Bob travels with his students to the local lakes and volcanoes.
Newberry Volcano near Bend is a national monument with two lakes
that he and his students are studying. The college has a 22
foot boat and the students do the same thing were doing here in
the Galápagos. With smaller cranes and dredges, they
sample for rocks and with a sediment core look for layers of ash,
shells and other volcanic debris.
Bob helps catalog the rock samples from dredge 44.
Now, when Bobs not hiking, sampling or sailing around Galápagos
volcanoes, hes SCUBA diving the ancient volcanic lakes in Oregon
or telemark skiing their slopes.