Day 4: More volcanic worms

Live from the Azores Volcanic hot spings.

What a morning, an hour finishing cataloguing yesterdays inventory then we split into two groups, Luis and Marta with the geochemists to do the south side of the Fogo volcano and collecting for the transplantation with Joca driving Pete, John, Mike and Mark doing the North side of the Fogo volcano.

We have had two fantastic sites one at the corner of a farmers field but the second is next to hydrothermal stream…..we harvested 20 worms in 15 minutes !! We did pop off and see a hot springs and a volcanically heated hot waterfall……nature is wonderful. It was also out first time to get in touch with the volcanism that we have come to study. It just fantastic to see the water boiling up out of the ground. We past a hydrothermal station and Juca says that 41% of the power in the Sao Miguel (Azores) comes from hydrothermal source. It was an incredible country side and quite frightening when your local guide says that may of the vents were not present when he was last there!!

The second site was next to a old baths where people would come and take the water. We literally jumped over a wall next to a picnic spot and dug worm adjacent to a steam running with steam hot spring water!! and of course then had our lunch….well what a perfect combination worm digging and a sandwich….followed by a cappuccino at the tourist cafe could the day be any more surreal. What even more strange was we were accosted by a walking tour of americans and brits some of which came originally from Cardiff and others had gone to university in Reading…it a small world. But when we saw the van that was ferrying them around it raise some eyebrows….….we are on the alternative geo serious tour.

We continued up the mountain to a site at about 550M above sea level where the vegetation

resembled the Scottish highlands…and again we hit worm gold pulling Amynthas out from the moss roots as if this was our life vocation….which is a little ironic in John’s case. The on to a evergreen forestry plantation….to start with nothing until we looked under the turfs that had been lifted to put in the new saplings…and again we were worming hand over fist….and even better John found Lumbricus rubellus our UK sentinel species hear on the Azores, how amazing. We went on to sample two sites as we came down the volcano one was by a volcanic pool which was suffering badly from algae caused by fertiliser over use which was being washed down from the surrounding farm land. But the farmland is good for worming and we kept finding common UK species….and just to prove to everyone what we are up too here is one of the big boys….yes its a Lumbricus terrestrius

and here’s the same worm with an appropriate scale bar….

One more successful site before we hit the Furnas hotel…..this was too easy….I kicked the verge when I got out of the land rover and there appeared a worm…John magic must be rubbing off. But I think today proves we are the W-Men we even have our own Professor W !!