The steaks were high.
Back a few decades, I was working in a program with a local college in the Middle East.
The name of the program for ExPats has the clever acronym of "IDEA" (hey, I said it was clever); which stands for "Inter-Departmental Educational Adjunct". It's interdepartmental because my particular specialty not only covers field geology but also paleontology and a bit of archeology thrown in for good measure. Everyone hopes to have a good IDEA...
Well, we saddle up and head for the Dune Sea out in the west of the country, where the Precambrian, Cambrian, Silurian, Cretaceous, Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene crop out and access is relatively easy and non-injurious.
Well, we caravan out, some 30 Land Cruisers, Nissan patrol, and the odd Mitsubishi Galloper strong. We all get our maps, compasses and split up into 5 or 6 special interest groups ("SIG's"); where each IDEA has his own GPS and LIDAR laser ranging apparatus. Reason being, that there are very few benchmarks out in the desert, and even those are constantly at the mercy of the shifting and ever-blowing sands.
Since we're split into groups and at any one time, ranging up to and including some 50 km2, when a real find is located, a device called the "DIME" (Digital-Interface Monitor Encoder) is attached and programmed into the GPS for location later; it is a digital sort of low-frequency transponder, developed from technology used by offshore drillers and jacket setters where benchmarks are even more transitory.
The way it works is rather simple. When something is to be marked for later retrieval, a series of wooden posts are pounded in a triangular manner around the find and the DIME is set, programmed with the GPS and attached to one or more of the posts.
That's the theory, at least.
Everything works well, especially all the hardened electronics and computer gizmos, but attaching the DIME to the stakes is the real problem. It can't be nailed, screwed or fastened with any sort of metal contrivance as that farkles the magnetic field and causes all sorts of goofy spurious signals. Zip ties don't last long in the heat and duct tape is right out. Many sites have been lost to the shifting sands this way.
Velcro doesn't work too well, as the sand fills the hooks of the receiving piece of velcro and soon renders it useless. String or fishing line work, but that's temporary (they melt). Glue or mastic are out as these are supposed to be temporary. Even plastic sleeves don't work due to the heat out... keep reading on reddit ➡