November 24, 2004
We had a visitor today, Beth came from McMurdo to help us do a GPS survey of our mass balance pole network and our drill, pit and camp sites. This way we will have an exact idea of the location of our work this season to refer to in future years. We went with Beth to help her install a "monument" on the rocks near the ice edge, so that she has a bedrock comparison point for all of her measurements on the ice. This is necessary because glacier ice is always moving, so out sites from this year may be meters away from their current location next year. Her monument should still be in the same place, however, given that she drilled it into a hole in solid rock. The drill rig was pretty wild to watch!
November 25, 2004
November 26, 2004
I was defeated today! I went to another site near the edge of the glacier to try to collect samples, but today I got nothing. The ice was too steep and too hard. Rather than get myself hurt, I decided that the Commonwealth would keep those samples, and I would go home. I got within ten feet of the sampling area I wanted to see, but those ten feet were as good as a mile. Some secrets I guess Antarctica still gets to keep.
November 27, 2004
We finished drilling today! We ended up drilling to 120 meters depth at the Commonwealth and 100 meters at the Clark. We packed up our cores and celebrated with another great steak lunch. Because the weather has continued to be outstanding, we ate our lunch outside in the perfect calm and sunshine that has been with us almost every day on the Commonwealth. We have music with us (Karl has an IPod and a set of small speakers), so it was a very pleasant afternoon of rest and relaxation after a couple of weeks of excellent work.
November 22, 2004
We have checked the other mass balance poles – three that we installed last year – and it looks like the whole area around our camp lost ice this year. There was a big wind storm in the area in May, and we may be seeing the results of high winds on the Commonwealth. The storm did a lot of damage in McMurdo, so the evidence of high winds here is not surprising, but it is interesting that the Clark and the Commonwealth have such different accumulation records for the year, given that they are only about 15 kilometers apart. The sastrugi (wind sculpted snow forms) are impressive, and make for tricky travel with a sled; they are, however, very pretty. I hope the pictures give some idea of their beauty.
November 28, 2004
Today we started by breaking down the drill tent and the drill and packing up all of our science equipment for shipment back to McMurdo tomorrow. Then in the afternoon we went exploring to a ridge near our camp with two beautiful slopes leading to it; on one side is a beautiful snow slope, and on the other side a broken slope with very cool rocks. We were on the ridge top for over an hour, exploring the rocks and absorbing the scenery. I descended the rocks, because I was really enjoying the variety, while the other three skied the snow slope on the other side. Another of those magic moments in Antarctica. Tomorrow we fly, and I am very much looking forward to getting home to my family and friends, but all the same, this is a special place and I will miss days like today.
moments in Antarctica. Tomorrow we fly, and I am very much looking forward to getting home to my family and friends, but all the same, this is a special place and I will miss days like today.