After spending a week here at Nussbaum Riegel, in the Taylor Valley, we’re done with two of our four camps and have collected about 350 samples (well over a ton). At 2000 feet, this camp has been colder than our camp at Lake Vanda, but generally less windy, which means it has been more pleasant.
The geology here has been wonderful as well. Our camp is centrally located among several 2-3 mile exposures of bedrock, meaning we have been able to work very efficiently, collecting several hundred lbs of rocks per day. One day we were even able to come back to camp for a hot lunch and tea before heading back out for the afternoon. Very civilized.
The views have also been spectacular: huge glaciers pouring thousands of feet to the valley floor from Matterhorn-like peaks (including a peak also named the Matterhorn), the meeting of the Ross Sea and Ross Ice Shelf below the volcano Mt Erebus, and the Taylor glacier flooding down the head of the valley from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.
Our next two camps will be in the Marshal Valley/Joyce Glacier area on the southeast flank of the Royal Society Range, 30 miles south of our current camp. We were planning to move today (Thursday), but all helo flights were cancelled due to bad weather at McMurdo. Instead, we have spent the day in camp reading, playing cards, and eating a lot (brownies, pancakes, grilled cheese with pepperoni…). Fingers crossed that we can fly tomorrow!
~Rob for the Antarctica360 team