Drilling Deep: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 -- The launch

Layers of sediment from the bottom of Lake Junín, at an elevation of 13,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes, hold the record of climate change as far back as 200,000 years.
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Drilling Deep: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 -- The launch


  • Members of the Peruvian drilling crew bury coca leaves in a ceremony of offering to Pachamama (mother earth).Members of the Peruvian drilling crew bury coca leaves in a ceremony of offering to Pachamama (mother earth).
  • Prof. Don Rodbell explains the launch to the Peruvian crew.Prof. Don Rodbell explains the launch to the Peruvian crew.
  • At the end of launch day, the drilling barge awaits a tow to the first drill site.At the end of launch day, the drilling barge awaits a tow to the first drill site.

  Five days in Peru

Finally, launch day began with the Peruvian workers conducting an ancient Incan ceremony to Pachamama (mother earth). Coca leaves, tobacco and spirits were buried in a hole as offerings to ensure a safe and productive project. Rodbell and Weidhaas participated. 

After a four-hour stop-and-go tow through a narrow and shallow channel, some of which had been hand-dug by Peruvian workers, the barge passed to the open water of Lake Junín, where it was anchored for the night about a mile from shore. Early Thursday, the barge would be towed several more miles to the drill site.