Bjorn, Qinghua and I returned to Lanzhou on the 8th after a 17 hour train ride from Golmud. Since then, Bjorn and I have been busy getting the ice core melter system ready for the ice core. The lab must be extremely clean in order to keep our samples free from contaminates. The people at the lab built a clean entry room into the melter lab while we were gone. It looks great, and will really help keep the lab clean. A small laminar flow hood was also delivered to the lab while we were in the field. This is an enclosed space that sits on the counter that has a fan and air filters to keep the space within very, very clean.) We will collect the melted ice core samples in this to futher reduce any contamination.
There are many small details to tend to in preparing to melt the core, but by the end of tomorrow the lab should be just about ready. The truck with our ice on it should arrive on the 12th, and then we will cut the core and begin melting. It's been a whirlwind and productive season, and we're excited to begin to process the ice core
Susan writes from Lanzhou:
Today we finished melting the ice core! We spent about a week getting the melter system set up for melting the core, and since the 16th we've been working melting the core around the clock. There have been four of us working in the lab, and we have been working opposite schedules so that everyone could get some sleep. The last week has been a blur of time, and we're happy to have completed the core.
Today we packed up all of our equipment and samples to ship home, Tomorrow we fly to Bejing and then on to Newark in time to celebrate Thanksgiving. Tonight we will celebrate a very productive field season and lab session- we're planning on getting foot massages and going to the karaoke bar.