It is a year since we began our 2 week water exploration program in the Kakuma Refugee Camp, sponsored by the SEG (Society of Exploration Geophysicists) GWB (Geoscientists Without Borders) Foundation, and which we called the Calgary to Kakuma Water Project. Using our results, in May 2016, UNHCR drilled 3 successful wells (that is, 3 for 3, with no dry or saline holes) to depths of 56, 74, and 62 meters below ground surface (mbgs), in what we termed in our report the “Northern Well Field”. The wells tested for sustainable yields of 40, 45, and 29 m3/hour, respectively. Given UNHCR’s practice of pumping supply wells for only 10 hours over each 24 hour period, this is enough water for 57,000 refugees, given UNHCR’s target of 20 liters per person per day.
We issued our full report in May 2016, and finalized it, after UNHCR review, in October 2016. The report is currently available in its entirety at www.paulbaumangeophysics.com (still in construction) We are planning to take on a similar project in the coming year, but hopefully in an even more challenging and water scarce location!
"Seeking Water in a Harsh Land" is a just published cover article about the our Calgary to Kakuma Water Project, featured in the PEG, the magazine of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.
Check out the article on page 65: https://www.apega.ca/assets/peg/PEG-Fall-2016-Issue.pdf
It includes photos taken by Josie Bauman, Paul Bauman, and Brendan O'Brien.
A recent article about Kakuma's own refugee Olympian Rose Nathike Lokonyen, a hero to tens of thousands of men and women in the Camp.
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We are featured as one of the New York Times' top news stories of 2016! Take a look!
Copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://nyti.ms/2hWADwe
New York Times Science writers have picked the discovery of the Holocaust period escape tunnel, dug by the “Burning Brigade” in the Ponar forest of Lithuania, as one of the top science stories of 2016. The 34 meter tunnel was dug by hand over 76 nights by Jewish slaves assigned to burn 100,000 bodies at the Ponar extermination site (see earlier Facebook posts). The pro bono geophysical work was done by Dr. Alastair McClymont and Paul Bauman from the near surface geophysics group in Calgary, Alberta, under the direction of archaeologists from the University of Hartford, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the Gaon Museum in Lithuania.
Besides the tunnel, we also identified the original Soviet fuel storage pit used for the mass burial of the initial 25,000 victims, the intact sub-levels of the “Great Synagogue” in Vilnius ransacked by the Nazis and later razed to the ground by the Soviets, and an individual and likely very significant grave inside the Rasu Prison that only 3 weeks ago was excavated and the tooth of a skeleton was removed, and is presently undergoing DNA analysis (more to come!).
Below is a link to an earlier interview with Paul Bauman by the National Post, the link to the original New York Times Science Section article, and the link to the recent top 2016 science article retrospective. Paul and Alastair will be back in Lithuania in July doing pro bono investigations at other mass burial sites, particularly in Kaunas, the capital of Lithuania during the period between World War I and World War II.
Unfortunately, and even tragically, the even more impressive and important water exploration pro bono work that 7 geophysicists (Erin Ernst, Randy Shinduke, Doug MacLean, Paul Bauman, Landon Woods, Coln Miazga, and Franklin Koch) from the Calgary office carried out in the Kakuma Refugee Camp and the Turkana Desert of northwest Kenya did not receive similar international media attention – though perhaps it will this year as the ongoing regional refugee crises become a worldwide calamity.
For the NY Times "Science News that Stuck with us in 2016", copy and paste this URL into your browser:
Trudeau's visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp on Sunday July 10, and Canada's Supreme Court ruling in favor of Helmut Oberlander, the roving death squad Einsatzkommando member, all seem good reasons to post this interview on As It Happens between Laura Lynch and Paul Bauman.
Don't believe what I write about Ponar. Listen or read the translation of what tunneler and Holocaust survivor Mordechai Zeidel says about Ponar and his escape.
Because this is an interview with me rather than a report made from a news feed, I believe it is one of the better, and certainly more accurate articles to come out on the tunnel discovery and Ponar. Of course, I also like that there are two photos of me!
What geophysicist would not brag about being reported on in the New York Times Science Section?! Though surprisingly, it's not the best or most accurate of the articles. You can view the dramatic WGBH NOVA movie trailer for the upcoming documentary on Ponar and the story of the Jews of Vilna (Vilnius).
Paul speaking about the discovery of the Burning Brigade escape tunnel on CBC News, the last 3 minutes from 27 to 30 in the broadcast. Alastair and I are gratified that the discovery of the tunnel has awakened interest in the Burning Brigade, and their unstoppable desire to fight back and survive to tell their story.
An article about the tunnel discovery was published today in Israel's leading newspaper, HaAretz. Because of the ties of so many Jews and Israelis to the Holocaust and the Jewish communities of Europe in general, and Vilnius in particular, the tunnel discovery is a very big deal in Israel. The Israel Antiquities Authority, lead by one of the Directors, Dr. Jon Seligman, was one of the leading partners in the project, and a pleasure to work with!
Check out the riveting Press Release/movie trailer (though the movie will not be completed until 2017) of NOVA's documenting of the pre-1941 Jewish community of Vilnius, the beginning of the Holocaust In Lithuania and at Poneriai, and of course the tunnel escape!!
Computer models are rarely perfect, and are often very wrong. The computer predictions that estimated the height of the tsunami waves reaching the Acehnese coast underestimated their size, and hence the tsunami's destructiveness. As such, a team of Japanese, Indonesian, European, and American (USGS) earth scientists came to Aceh during the early weeks of absolute mayhem following the December 26, 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. From January 20 to 29, 2005, the scientists collected wave height, erosion, sediment deposition, flow direction, and other information to calibrate their models....and to better predict the impact of the inevitable next tsunami.
So, while the kite photo of the the tugboat and the coal barge evokes the power of the tsunami wave, the purpose of the photograph was to show the height of the wave. The coast of Lho Nga was one of the first locations that the scientists visited. Here, from the height of the stripped vegetation, they measured the tsunami wave at 31 m above sea level.
Of course in 2004 and 2005, small drones were not available for photography. And according to kite historians, Sumatra is where the kite was invented as natives mimicked the shape and ribs of falling leaves to build the first kites.....and it is still a popular hobby everywhere in Indonesia.
The coal barge was carried from about 2 km offshore, only to be deposited on the only coastal road of Aceh. The coal had been destined for the Lafarge cement factory in Lho Nga. When I returned on a later trip, the then unemployed cement factory workers had built a little cafe under the shade of the bow of the barge.
Another measure of the height of the tsunami wave was the decapitated monument in the harbour of Banda Aceh, which had originally been erected to celebrate the Aceh War against the Dutch.
One of the very positive outcomes of the Indian Ocean tsunami in Aceh was that the destruction caused by the tsunami convinced GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka), the Free Aceh Movement, to agree to a ceasefire so as aid workers could move into the area. The December 28, 2004 ceasefire eventually metamorphosed into a lasting peace agreement. And certainly during my time in Aceh traveling by boat, helicopter, hitchhiking, and on foot, I never encountered any sort of threat from any of the GAM fighters. Too bad the 6+ year catastrophic drought in Syria did not have the same effect there.
Blogging by Paul Bauman