Saturday, December 22, 2007

December 23, 2007
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica

Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Temperature: -12 °C ( 10 °F)
Wind speed: 16 km/h (10 mp/h)
Wind Chill: -4°C
Visibility: 3 miles
Clouds: overcast
Wind direction: SW
Relative Humidity: 81%
Barometric Pressure: falling
Precipitation: trace
Breakfast: Eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, toast, biscuits, bacon
Lunch: Chicken stir fry, tofu stir fry
Supper: Oysters, shrimps, scallops, rice pilaf, peas and carrot, carrot cake

Yesterday morning was unbelievably clear and calm. This morning is overcast and lightly snowing. Yesterday we were supposed to get a plane in to pick up two passengers and fuel on its way to a camp at Patriot Hills but by mid afternoon the visibility was really poor and snowing lightly and the plane could not land here but went to a different location in West Antarctica. The image I added today is a view looking from the snow pits we finished digging yesterday toward Anais’s downhole temperature logging project. The picture was taken about 3 pm and you can see how poor visibility was at that time. I know that the image is very small but you can see the edge of Anais’s project area outlined by the black flags. If you look very very carefully about halfway up the flags you can barely distinguish the horizon line. If you think that it is tough to distinguish between sky and snow surface in this image believe me it is not any easier in real life. We often struggle to make out the horizon on these overcast days.

As I mentioned, we did finish digging our snow-pit yesterday. We dug two pits, one smaller, about 2.5 m x 3 m (7.5’ x 9’), and one 2.5 m x 4 m (7.5’ x 12’), and separated by a 2/3 m (2’) wall. When we finished at 5pm we covered both pits with plywood to keep them from filling-in with snow before we will use them in 2 weeks. When we take the plywood off we will shave the separating snow wall down to about 15 cm (6”). Then when you stand in the larger pit (covered by plywood to darken the inside) and remove the plywood from over the top of the smaller pit, the light shines through the thin wall which separates the two pits and illuminates the snow/ice layers in the wall. The position and thickness of each layer will be recorded.

The second image is of Rebecca and Inger starting to work on the second pit. You can see the first snow pit in the bottom left-hand side of the image. There is a 2” x6” x 12‘ board across where the thin wall will be when completed.

After digging all day long we returned to the galley for a seafood meal and caught up on news around camp.

Today I will make an effort to finally get my quadrant set-up and operating.

Tomorrow is Christamas Eve for us - wow


Paul said...

I have heard that the weather may improve for your area. Say hello to my son Phil, one of the camp medics. Merry Christmas to all down there doing great work.

Lisa said...

I appreciate this blog - my husband, Jim, is one of the drillers scheduled to depart McMurdo on the 26th. It gives me a little insight into where he'll be. Seems like quite a change from the Pole, where he's been the last 3 times, so thank you. Have a Merry Christmas and stay safe!