Tannis McCartney


Tannis McCartney

All my life, I've wanted to be a storyteller. My experiences as an exchange student in New Zealand started me on a path to learn how to tell the stories left behind in the rocks. After six years working as a geophysicist, I returned to university to get a Masters degree in Geology. These studies have dominated my life, and my travels, for the last several years.

The adventure continues, on the other side of the continent. I've moved to central New York State where I'm an Earth Sciences PhD Candidate. New areas to explore and new rocks to discover!

Africa » Kenya » Rift Valley Province » Turkana June 20th 2013

Our "West Turkana" drillsite was located in northern Turkana, just off the west shore of the lake near North Island. To get there, we flew from Nairobi to Lodwar. I had been excited about having a window seat on the little plane, but a woman with a baby took it instead (and how could I make her move)? I ended up with someone else's carry-on bag in my foot space, and the baby smelled like poopy nappies for most of the flight. My disappointment at missing out on the views was slightly eased by the fact that it was cloudy for most of the flight. When we disembarked at the Lodwar airstrip, I felt like I'd finally arrived in Africa. The heat, the dust, the clamber of people on the other side of the fence waiting ... read more
Collecting bundles of firewood
Turkana women carrying their famous woven baskents
Traditional woven huts

Africa » Kenya » Nairobi Province » Nairobi June 16th 2013

I'm in Africa for research for five weeks. I was only supposed to be in Nairobi for two days before heading up to the Baringo area, but the research I was going to join there finished early, so I waited in the city waiting for everyone else to get back so we can regroup before heading up to Turkana for phase II of the research. I'll be writing about some of the work we're doing on my rock blog: tannislikesrocks.blogspot.com. Today we've had a break from wrapping up the Baringo data and prepping for Turkana, so five of us hired a driver and headed to Nairobi National Park for a day-trip safari. As we waited for our driver outside our apartment at 5:30am, one of the other women declared that we were going to have an ... read more
Baby elephant

North America » Canada » Alberta » Calgary June 6th 2012

Remember when I said I didn't really like zoos? I was blogging about the Australia Zoo, where you can get with kangaroos and koalas. Some zoos, like the Australia Zoo are really involved in conservation and education, and they do the best they can to give the animals an environment that resembles their natural one. The Calgary Zoo is another one that does this. Not that they haven't had problems keeping some of the animals healthy in the past, but they are doing what they can. Recently they decided to phase out the elephants because although the current elephant enclosure meets regulations/standards, they want to give the elephants more room. The problem is, the Calgary Zoo is on an island, so there isn't more room. When my family were in town for my MSc Convocation, we ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Brisbane September 29th 2011

This has been a whirlwind trip to Australia, so it's been great to spend the last few days staying with friends in Brisbane. I met Krista and Kris during undergrad in Canada, but for the last several years they've been expats-first in the UK (where their son was born) and now in Australia. After two weeks of backpacking, it's so relaxing to be with friends in their home. Krista and Kris have been amazing hosts, and I'm so glad we've had a chance to catch up again! On the day I flew in from Cairns, we took the CityCat to spend a bit of time exploring the South Bank, including the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. My friends moved here right around the time of the floods, so they've been able to ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Australia Zoo September 27th 2011

I'm not normally a zoo person. My memories of visiting the zoo as a kid are of too much sun, not enough water, and too much fighting with my sisters over what to see next. The real clincher for me though, was going to a zoo overseas for the first time, and seeing Canadian wildlife in the zoo. It was heartbreaking to see them out of their natural environment. I don't think they were being mistreated, but they just didn't look right to me. The timberwolf's fur was discoloured and the moose just looked sad. Within just a few months of that experience, I got to see dolphins in the wild for the first time. It cemented my belief that animals should be seen in their natural environments. That being said, there are some zoos around ... read more
Sleepy time
The easy way to get food
The Crocoseum

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns September 26th 2011

I arrived in Cairns after dark. Leaving Alice Springs was hard. In one week I'd come to love the center of Australia and I shed a few tears as the plane took off. Ultimately, the tears were probably good for my eyes. My whole body was tired of the smoke, which got really bad again the afternoon I left. It was a good flight, but I still wanted to cry myself to sleep, from general weariness, when I got to my hostel. I was tired of being sick, tired of being in hostels, and tired of spending so much money. Fortunately, a good night's rest made a huge difference to my mood and the humid, un-smoky air was helping my body to heal. For an hour or so before bed at the end of my first ... read more
Heron 2

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Great Barrier Reef September 24th 2011

It was an early start this morning to head to the boat for the reef trip, but it was worth it. I met up with Emily, a former Rotary Exchange Student I met through my volunteer work with that organization (we sent her to Hungary) who is doing a university semester in Australia, and some of her friends from uni. They were in Cairns during a school break. I also met a really nice family from Victoria. It was great to have people to talk to while we were on the boat. The other times I've been snorkeling ( and ) I'd still felt like I was invading a world I didn't belong in, so I wasn't sure how the day was going to go. It was fine. More than fine. It was wonderful. There were ... read more
Giant Clam
School time for the surgeonfish
Swirling chromis

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs September 22nd 2011

I may never again live on the prairies I grew up on, but there are aspects of that life that I can seek out in other places to feel grounded. The pioneering spirit that has been passed down from my ancestors. Being surrounded by sky. Feeling connected to the very earth you stand on. These things are here, in Alice Springs and in the Outback. It's not that I feel like I belong here (I know I don't), or that it is a welcoming, inviting land (it is a harsh climate, and a hard place to live). But I do feel grounded here. The people that I've met in Alice have been wonderful, and I have not once regretted my decision to spend extra time here. If the smoke from the fires wasn't wreaking havoc with ... read more
Heavitree Gap
the MacDonnell Ranges
Botanic Gardens 2

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Kings Canyon September 19th 2011

Several months ago, when this trip was still in the planning stages, the community of geo-bloggers were asked to describe geology that they find sexy. The topic wasn't meant to be about double-entendres (but lets face it, there are lots of those in geology), but about geological features that we get really excited about. I wrote about ripple marks, although there was also a brief mention of cross-bedded sandstone. Imagine my delight then, early this morning as we made the steep ascent on the start of the King's Canyon rim walk, when I started seeing cross-bedding and ripple marks. Our guide said that I should wait until we were at the top, and then I'd be really excited... Uluru() and Kata Tjuta () were amazing, but King's Canyon was spectacula... read more
Early  morning at Kings Canyon 4
Infamous gap
Sunlight and shadows

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Kata Tjuta September 18th 2011

I was tired last night, but I couldn't sleep. I was comfortable in my swag, and I pushed all thoughts of creepy-crawly's out of my mind, but I couldn't sleep because the moon and the stars were too bright. I would drift off, and then their brightness would jolt me awake. Of all the reasons that have given me insomnia in my life, this was by far the most worthwhile one. If sunset last night was obscured by the smoke from all the bush fires, sunrise this morning was even hazier. I was craving coffee as we made the pre-dawn journey from our campsite to the Kata Tjuta viewing platform. We watched dawn chase the shadows away, and the weathered mounds of Kata Tjuta emerged. On the horizon, a distant red ball appeared, outlining the shadow ... read more
Red Dune
Dawn in the Outback
Dawn at Kata Tjuta

Tot: 1.799s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 24; qc: 73; dbt: 0.0206s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.6mb