Here we are finally, in the town of Monywa, which lies some 140 km northeast of Mandalay on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River. The Chindwin originates in northern Myanmar and joins the large Irrawaddy River to the southwest of Mandalay.
Although our gravity corer and our spare Russian corer and rods easily passed the customs at Mandalay airport, the rest of the equipment, which we had sent through DHL from Bangkok is still in Yangon waiting to enter the country.
We just learned that a group of Chinese scientists from CAS had been here a few weeks ago to take gravity cores and long cores from the three deepest crater lakes. This is good news, because our coring equipment is not suited for deep lakes, and once we get a nice sequence from the two shallow lakes, which are our main targets, we may be able to correlate our study to that being done by CAS scientists.
One of our target sites, an almost filled in crater lake, is located close to a Bronze Age cemetery and we hope to find signals in the lake sediments that would indicate settlements/agricultural activity around or even inside the crater.
Moreover, we might be able to trace past tectonic activity in the region, which is prone to frequent earthquakes. The region here is located close to the boundary between two continental plates, the Sunda Plate (Shan – Thai Block) to the east and the Burma Plate to the west. This boundary, called the Sagaing Fault is an active strike-slip transform fault, comparable to the San Andreas Fault in California. Just about a year ago, a strong earthquake struck the area and caused destruction of buildings.