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Tuesday, 25 November 2008 21:34
Tango 1 and the air we breathe
We have been preparing for a week to move to our deep field location: Tango 1. Tango 1 is a camp deep in the Transantarctic Mountains about 800 miles from the McMurdo Station. The camp will need to be fully erected, meaning that three us of us will precede the majority of the team by three days to create the camp we will be working out of for a couple of weeks. This is going to be a completely new Antarctic experience for me. My previous work in the Dry Valleys was remote in the sense that we were not at the research station, but we were always less than a 45-minute helicopter flight from resources. Tango 1 is truly going to be a deep field experience. I am very much looking forward to being there, and excited to be on the advance team… I mean isn’t this one of the reaso...
Thursday, 20 November 2008 20:21
It takes a lot to get here
Greetings. This is my first official day at the main US research base in Antarctica-McMurdo Station. I am very excited to start bringing you the stories of POLENET science and what life is like as we do our work from one of the most remote places on the face of the planet. This season a small contingent of researchers from multiple universities will be working to install and maintain very high precision global positioning systems and seismometers. It is our goal within POLENET to cover a large portion of the continent with these sensors to begin to understand the science of interaction between the great ice sheets and the earth below. This understanding is vital to understand the historical relationship of the ice and the rock in the past as a window of what to expect in the...
Saturday, 19 July 2008 02:01
Researchers at Newcastle University Join POLENET
A 150-meter ice core pulled from the McCall Glacier in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this summer may offer researchers their first quantitative look at up to two centuries of climate change in the region. The core, which is longer than 1 1/2 football fields, is the longest extracted from an arctic glacier in the United States, according to Matt Nolan, an associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Northern Engineering who has led research at McCall Glacier for the past six years. The sample spans the entire depth of the glacier and may cover 200 years of history, he said. “What we hope is that the climate record will extend back into the Little Ice Age,said Nolan. “Up until the late 1800s these glaciers were actually gr...
Published in News And Announcements
Monday, 11 February 2008 17:59
6th February 2008 Last week was a blowout when it came to using the twin otters — until Thursday. Then we split into three teams. Two teams managed to get a seismic site and two GPS sites in on Thursday while Abel, Mitch and I went north on a helicopter to do a tie on Brimstone Peak on Friday night. As a night flight things got a bit colder and we were dodging low clouds all the way up through Victoria Land, passing flights of raised beaches on the way. We landed in a swirl of cloud and snow on the south side of Brimstone, and lugged our gear over to the tie. The tie will mean that old data from a ...
Thursday, 31 January 2008 07:46
A Better Day
29th January 2008 Wow, I know that last entry was a bit of moan-fest, but hey – as they say ‘round here, it’s a harsh continent. Today was better, actually quite a bit better. We managed to get a bunch of our gear out to the site at Lonewolf Nunatak (my vote for windiest place on the planet) and also built a new GPS station at an old NASA GPS site in the Kukri Hills just to the west of McMurdo. There’s nothing like a bit of productive work to lift morale a bit. It was a warm(ish) day with no wind on the mountain, just a little snow now and again. We finished the guts of the station pretty quickly, the drilling of the monument took a whole lot longer than expected though. Even so we ended up with a good install and had time for a bit of a walk. ...
Tuesday, 29 January 2008 05:37
Working hard twiddling our thumbs
28th January 2008 We’ve been back in McMurdo now a week. Unfortunately we’ve not been anywhere near an aircraft. It’s the end of the season here in town, and things are supposed to be winding down. The weather, which has been marginal, to put it mildly, all season, has not really improved much and our project is getting pushed back, and pushed back, and pushed back. The crash that our team was involved in earlier in the season is eating up a lot of resources, with a camp and mechanics out in Marie Byrd Land feverishly trying to put humpty-dumpty, sorry – I mean the Basler, back together again before the weather changes for the worse. Unfortunately that’s sucking up resources here, which means that our weather window is moving back and back into the autumn. ...
Thursday, 24 January 2008 11:36
Too Good to be True MK II (the remake)
20th January 2008 So we were done! Finished at Patriot Hills. Now we just had to take advantage of the glorious still weather and wait for the Air National Guard to come pick us up. It felt brilliant to be finished. We had packed and palletized all our gear and expected the call that the Hercules was coming at any minute. No call. Followed a little later by the lack of call. Followed just a while later by nothing. Followed somewhat later by a cancellation notice. “Must be the weather at McMurdo” Someone suggested. “Nope” – according to Mac Weather we, at Patriot Hills, were having terrible weather. You know what, they were right. It was cloudy, there was seven of ‘em. I know, I...
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 06:31
Fuel Cache a Go Go
Two nights ago three of us left Patriot Hills to go and install the GPS and seismic site at Dufek Massif, or more correctly Cordiner Peaks (82° 51’ 41.6”S, 53° 12’ 00.4”W), just to the south of Dufek. The weather at Patriot has been strangely nice, low winds, warm sun and warm tents. People have been sleeping on top of their sleep kits and complaining of the heat (it was 83°F in one tent earlier). To get to Dufek is a bit of a haul. We flew about an hour and a half to a site where the New York Air National Guard had kindly pushed 40 barrels of fuel from a low flying Hercules. Troubl...
Thursday, 17 January 2008 01:37
The hazards of working in the world's most inhospitable environment
We had a slight “event” a week or so ago, when our group was at a site called Mt. Paterson. Mount Paterson is about 550 miles west of McMurdo, somewhat near the coast. I would have put a post up about this earlier, but it was a somewhat sensitive issue. Enough time has elapsed now, and I think it is important to talk about, so I’m putting up some photos. In short, we had a plane crash in the Basler. If you have read previous posts, you will know that a Basler is a fixed wing aircraft, slightly larger than a Twin Otter, and therefore capable of carrying more weight. It uses skis to land, just like a Twin Otter. I wasn’t on the flight, another member of our group, Bob, ended up taking my place. There were six people from out group total (3 GPS, 3 seismic) and 4 people from fixed wing...
Tuesday, 15 January 2008 00:13
And the Howling Wind Goes On
Yeah, you better believe it. The wind has been ferocious here. It is hard to describe just what a physical presence it has, its own personality each day. One day its a continuous ground blizzard that makes getting between the tents “fun.” Some nights you can barely sleep because the your tent is being rocked about, with gusts occasionally bending it completely out of shape. You lie there wondering if you’re about to blow away. When the lulls come they are glorious, the silence is absolute, much more so than anything you can find around McMurdo, where there is always the noise of a generator or a vehicle backing up somewhere. The people here are a nice bunch. They seem pleased to have scientist in their mix. The staff are regular explorer types mostly, with a few hardy ...
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