So am I obsessed with drilling? I think so. After all, I spent nearly five years in Libya of which three were spent working with these things on a daily basis. Looking back, those years in the Libyan desert were tremendous fun. At the time it may have seemed like the daily grind but I had terrific degrees of freedom to plan and execute my work and little in the way of soul-crushing micro-management. I also got to work with a terrific bunch of people from many different backgrounds and cultures.
Where my previous drilling photos were located near the center of Concession 20 and in the northern part, this one (I’m fairly sure from its sequence in my collection) is from the southern end of the concession. It’s another scan from a slide shot with my Olympus XA camera.
Here we see yet another variation on the Libyan landscape – the gravel plain. These were deceptive in being nowhere near as smooth as they appeared. Lines of dried water courses criss-crossed the plains at odd angles waiting to snare the Land Rover, and in odd cases, flip them!
Here you can see the tracks leading straight to the distant escarpment. The surveyors would head out first to lay the line. Then, usually, we’d follow with the drill rigs and then the recording crew would sweep by. By the time the recording crew came along, the tracks were well developed and clearly visible from the aircraft we used to use for crew rotations. The tracks then last for years!
Here the surface sand has long since blown away to form dunes elsewhere leaving a surface of heavier pebbles overlying a softer gravel. The lighter patches in the foreground here are most likely a gypsum formation, exposed at the surface.
The scrubby bushes show that moisture happens here, not that I recall it raining on this particular assignment. I do recall one day when it rained. That was the day we learned that the seams on the roof of our mess trailer had long since rotted away! It didn’t do the miles of recording cables and geophone strings we had laid out much good either. Fortunately the heat and the sun dried those out quickly once the rain had moved on.