On Friday, a group of us (mostly teachers and a couple of us who are not) hopped on a bus and went up to the Woodlawn Bioreactor for the day - first we went to the visitors centere and watched a "safety video" and learnt some stuff about the place, then we went up the hill and looked down the hole, and had a look at the old tailings dams and stuff, then we went back to the visitors centre for a yummy free lunch and spent the afernoon learing about climate change, and ideas for teaching students about it (it was actually a thing for teachers but non teaching staff were allowed to go too ... so I went - one way to keep my brain cells working - I might need them one day - lol) ... and because we will be getting a copy of all the notes/info/etc I didn't need to write a lot of notes, so I did a lot of sewing on my black hole journal quilt while listening to the stuff on climate change (strangely enough, I think I have always been able to listen/pay attention better when I am also doing stuff with my hands ... even when I was at school - which used to drive my teachers nuts because I was always scribbling in my book or fiddling with stuff on my desk or something but I was often the first one to understand whatever it was the teacher was trying to explain to the class! ... maybe that was because the other kids were too distracted by my fidgetting? LOL)
Anyway ... for those who don't know what it is/have not followed the link at the beginning of this post and found out - it is a huge big hole in the ground - how huge?
- see that truck in the foreground, driving along the road below? - well there is another one the same size down the bottom where the green arrow is pointing! ... see how small it looks?! - yes it IS a BIG hole - lol
(it was kind of handy that the camera I was using does wide angle ... lol)
It was a mine once (an open cut one ... and they also did some underground mining too) ... but it kind of closed down overnight (quite a few years ago) and it has now been turned into a "bioreactor" ... which is basically a rubbish tip that they collect methane gas from - they collect rather a lot of Sydney's domestic garbage, stick it on a train which comes down to a place a few km away, where the containers are loaded on to the trucks and taken down the hole and emptied into the bottom ... and they stick pipes and stuff in it and do all sorts of techincal things like pumping the sludgey water out of the bottom so the right bacteria break down the garbage and produce methane - which comes up the pipes and is used to generate electricity ... they chose the mine because it is big enough to fill with a LOT of garbage, and the geology/rock type/etc means that stuff from the rubbish does not leak out into the groundwater - the bloke telling us about it described it as a big bucket ...
(maybe I should have called this post "a fart in a bucket"? LOL)
btw ... seeing it IS an old MINE ... there were some rather interesting rocks lying around ... and we got to get out of the bus at the top where we looked down the hole, and down by the tailings dams ... so of course I brought a few handfuls of rocks home - LOL
(I actually took a spare "green" shopping bag to put them in - because I have been there before - went with the Land Rover club about 2 or 3 months ago, but we had parked at the visitors center and only taken a few vehicles up to the lookout and I was in someone else's 4WD - so I only had room for the one or 2 that I could stuff in my pockets)
I have not taken any photos of the rocks yet ... I might do that some time in the next week or 3 and then all I need to do is try and remember to blog about them - lol
Actually I do have this photo of some of the rocks:
... but these were not the ones I was collecting and bringing home.
I took this picture because I liked the colours in the rusty whatever it was and the rusty rocks it was lying amongst. ... yes the rocks actually are rusty - I think it is because of what the ore they were mining is made out of (iron sulphide, etc) - the iron in the rocks oxidises when exposed to the air and becomes iron oxide ... which is what rust is.
Also, I have a photo of one of the rocks I collected the other time I went there (back in July actually - that is the date on the photos ;-)
This is what I went looking for some more of:
The gold coloured cubes are pyrite (otherwise known as "fools gold" ... ok - I am foolish enough to be attracted to interesting shiny things - lol)
... and yes - I found some more this time ... not a lot, but some ... enough to maybe think about attempting to sew some of the little gold cubes onto a journal quilt - LOL
(and enough to give a couple to the school I work at, so the students can look at it when they learn about crystal structure or what pyrite looks like)