Sunday, January 18, 2009

WAIS - Jan 18, 2009 - Spruce

Name: Spruce Schoenemann

Date: January 18, 2009
Location: WAIS Divide Rec Tent
Time: Actually Monday morning
Latitude: 79° 28’ 1.2” S
Longitude: 112° 5’ 6.0” W
Elevation: 1,759 m
Borehole depth: 1367 m
Temperature: -18°C
Wind speed: 8.7 knots
Visibility: Less than 1 mile
Clouds: Stratus clouds everywhere-no blue sky
Wind direction: 099
Relative Humidity: In the Rec Tent it’s very humid thanks to the showers!
Precipitation: none
Animals: the lint creatures from my wool long underwear
Breakfast (2pm): Cinnamon Raisin Bagel w/ Butter & Coffee
Lunch (6pm): Leftovers consisting of Eggplant Parmigan, Vegetables & Quinoa, and Shrimp Soup
Supper (12am): Spinach Tortellini, Honey Mustard Chicken, and Peas & Carrots

Hello to all the WAIS Divide blog followers! It’s Sunday! A day off for most everyone, except Shift 2. As you read in Bruce’s blog for Saturday, we finally had an all camp day off, and some excellent festivities, including the 3 mph sleigh ride and a sailing slide show. I really enjoyed putting together the slides of my various sailing adventures, which provided a nice change of landscape from the vast white ice sheet to the vast blue ocean.

This morning (2pm in the afternoon) I awoke and realized that the 2nd WAIS Divide Coffee House was underway. I hurriedly made my way to the galley for a breakfast bagel and then headed directly to the Rec Tent to catch the second half of the Coffee House. The finale of the show was John Fegyveresi’s guitar playing and vocals. He is an excellent musician and songwriter, and we all enjoyed his witty words.

While the rest of camp enjoyed their Sunday, Shift 2 headed off to the arch to start up the last week of drilling. It was to be an exciting shift since Bill Mason was going to try a new valve in the screen barrel section of the drill. The valve was designed to help pack the chips more efficiently in the screens so that the drill could get more ice per run. Rather than drill 2.5m ice, we were going to attempt to drill 3m of ice. The first core we drilled came out of the core barrel, through the F.E.D (fluid evacuation device), and on to the 4m trays in the core handling side of the arch. Both Tim and I could not believe how long that single piece of ice core was. We made estimates on the length and then measured it with the laser baluff. 2.95 meters! Wow! It was an absolutely excellent piece of ice core, with no breaks or fractures and a perfectly spherical bottom break. If we could drill 3 meters each run, then over the course of our shift, we could get 12 meters of ice from four runs down the bore hole rather than 10 meters. Unfortunately the valve seemed to be triggering too early in the drilling process and we were never able to break the 3-meter barrier. We reverted back to the 2.5 meters per run in order to maximize the amount of ice we put in the 1m holding trays since we are limited in the amount of ice we can drill by how much we can store. Speaking of which, the basement is almost completely full of carts. There is room for 3 more carts, and then we will need to start filling the aisle between the two rows of carts! I still find it hard to believe that we have drilled that much ice core this season. What seemed like an endless amount of trays and carts at the beginning of the season is now a packed storeroom of row upon row of 1m ice cores. At the rate we are going, we will probably hit 1500 meters by Thursday night, but we have enough trays to drill to a depth of approximately 1532 meters. Since we have the time, if all goes smoothly, will fill up every last tray before the season is over!

With the season’s goal in sight, everyone’s spirits seem to be a bit higher. There is a jovial, celebratory atmosphere in camp, and in less than a week we will all be gone, except for the ice cores, the only true WAIS Dividians wintering over.

Cheers from way down under,
Spruce