Earthquakes, floods, sea-level rise and sudden shifts in river courses threaten many of the 150 million Bangladeshis living in the low-lying Brahmaputra River delta. Scientists from Lamont-Doherty, Dhaka University and other institutions have begun a five-year project to understand the hazards and the possible hidden links among them. Lamont geophysicist Michael Steckler keeps us up to date on the work.
Geohazards in Bangladesh
At Bhandarkote, Khulna, the second site
Today we started working on the new site. Bhandarkote is a small village outside of Khulna, the third largest city in Bangladesh. The site is on a dirt road at the family home of a student from Khulna University. It a pretty remote rural place about 25 minutes off the main road through small country villages.
Yesterday, we met Rakib, a professor from Khulna University, and two of his students, Sonya and Jafreen. We then proceeded to get lost trying to find the site, but eventually made it. The family was incredibly nice and hospitable as we filled their small home with boxes. There are three generations, the grandfather, the parents and their children. They cooked us a delicious lunch of completely fresh food from their farm. The youngest son insisted on taking us on a boat ride around their shrimp pond. They are very proud of hosting the experiment. With the late start after arriving in Khulna at 2:30 AM and the very necessary time getting to know the family, there wasn’t very much work done except to sorting out arrangements with the drillers.
However, we clearly weren’t sufficiently careful with all the food pushed on us. The family doesn’t have a good sense of how sensitive American stomachs are. Scott D. was ill last night and spent most of the day resting on a bed at the house. He did manage to join us for a little while in the afternoon. Hopefully, he will be better in a day or two as the antibiotics kick in.
The rest of us managed. After getting bamboo (freshly cut) and other supplies, we were able to install the fiber in the 100m well. We then got ambitious and worked on the 40m well, but the bottom assembly got stuck to high in the well. We tried a second time with a shorter chain but it got stuck in the same spot. Rather than make the same mistakes we did in Jamalganj, we pulled out the entire thing a second time and flushed the cement out of the well. We will take our time and sleep on our options for the well.