Saturday, January 12, 2008


January 13, 2008
WAIS Divide camp Antarctica

Time: 6 am
Latitude: 79° 28.10’ S
Longitude: 112° 3.56’ W
Elevation: 1820 m (5919’)
Ice core: ~380 m (1140’)
Temperature: -15 °C (6°F)
Wind speed: 22 km/h (14 mp/h)
Wind Chill: -23 °C (-10 °F)
Visibility: 1 km (0.6 miles)
Clouds: flurries and wind
Wind direction: W
Relative Humidity: 80%
Barometric Pressure: falling
Precipitation: - flurries
Animals: 6 Skuas, 12 Weddell seals (all in McMurdo)
Breakfast: pancakes, muffins, cereal, bacon
Lunch: Jalapeno corn bread, chili, veggie soup, baked potato
Supper: Short ribs, fries, bread, veggie BBQ

We
are working 6 days on and 1 day off this week and maybe the next week.
We have accomplished quite a lot in the drilling arch but still have a
long way to go. Since our ultimate goal is the bottom of the ice sheet
at 3,500 m (10,000’+), and we are just past 350 m (1,140’), we are about
1/10 of the way down. It may seem like we have not gotten far this year
but it took so long to get all the equipment in place that the next few
years will be pure drilling and we will gain 3-4 times more core each
year. At the end of the last shift change Ken printed out a plot of the
annual layers of ice that we have collected so far. A very very rough
estimate places us somewhere back around 600 A.D. We can not directly see the
actual annual layers in the ice core but it
takes the DEP machine to analyze the dielectric constant in the ice to
determine the annual layers. At some level I am becoming a little
complacent about the ice I am working with and I am treating it like
another day in the arch measuring and cutting ice core. It is easy to
forget where we are and the cool science we are doing when working at
-20C trying to stay warm. Next time I get to work I am going to take a
bit more time and really concentrate on what I am collecting.

After
the last work shift on Saturday it is time to catch up with reading,
movies, and personal grooming. Many of us have longer hair and most men are wearing beards here in camp but with limited showers sometimes it is best just to have
as little hair as possible. Where is the closest barber
inWAIS Divide camp? As you can see from today’s picture, your friendly
neighbor driller is good with a multi-million dollar instrument and a
$10 shaver. The big question is what do you tip a free barber in
Antarctica? Me, I am keeping my hair long but little by little I am
getting rid of my beard and plan to arrive home in less than two weeks
without it.

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