Ice Cores from the Dry Valleys of Antarctica 2005
Karl Kreutz, Bruce Williamson, Mike Waskiewicz
Terry Gacke and Toby Burdet
October 10, 2004 to December 15, 2005

Jounral Entries: October 20th October 25th November 4th
November 9th November 11th November 19th November 22nd

October 27, 2005
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We arrived yesterday at the Clark Glacier, flying over beautiful icebergs in the sound to get here. The glacier is very different from last year. The surface is almost flat, where last year it had large sastrugi (wind sculpted snow mounds); moving around is easier without the sastrugi. We had steak for dinner last night to open the season on a good note. It was very good indeed! Today Toby and I checked the poles we use to measure how much snow has accumulated at our site (mass balance poles), and found that the area of the Clark surrounding our drill site has received a healthy amount, from 12 to 30 cm depending on the location. Mike and Terry got the drill set up and Karl got all of the core processing equipment ready, so we are off to a good start.
October 30, 2005
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A great Sunday. We have now collected one short core about 20 m from the Clark and have begun drilling the second, which will be deeper. Today, however, we took a hike down into the Victoria Valley, which is one of my favorite places on the planet. On the way to the valley floor, we also came across a mummified seal (look carefully beneath the boulder in the photo); the odd thing is that this seal was at least 300 meters above the valley floor and several kilometers from the sea ice! This is our first mystery for the season. How did the seal get there? And how long has it been there?

Beyond the seal, the valley was as spectacular as I remember, and we had a great walk, examining all the ventifacts (sand/wind polished rocks) and the ripples in the valley sand. There really is no place on Earth to compare to this, though NASA uses these valleys to predict what Mars might be like. A wonderful place to explore!

It was also amusing to have one afternoon where the helicopter broke down after bringing us boxes for our ice core, so the picture of the two helicopters in camp is actually a picture of the one helicopter coming out to provide service for the other one. The pilot enjoyed a nice coffee break with us while he waited for this help to arrive.

Expedition pages from 2003 and 2004
class="journal">Expedition pages from 2003 and 2004