It has been 6 or so weeks on the ice (to be honest, we’ve lost track of time and don’t even know the day of the week). If anything, time is measured by alternating cooking duties and the numbers we write on canvas sample bags—in excess of 400 so far. Some changes have become hard to ignore. For example, our toilet fortress, once a 4 ft deep hole surrounded by 4 ft walls of snow blocks has filled in with drifts and eroded down such that it hardly provides any shelter or privacy; the sastrugi on the interior adds décor. In the cook tent, snow has melted and compacted under the floor such that the stove, food boxes, and chairs are precariously inclined to crash inward.
Across from camp, seven triangular ridges expose layers of granites and metasediments, sandwiched between steep tributary icefalls. Reaching the cliffs requires crossing the five-mile-wide Darwin Glacier. Although the Darwin has a central corridor of shiny sun-scoured blue ice, strips of crevasses line the edges. Melt water runs in and amongst crevasses, creating mazes of small channels and deep cracks. Complicating navigation, variable amounts of wind-blown snow cover and hide the surface of the glacier. Fortunately, we have been joined by Alaska Larry, a mountaineering guide on Denali in the other summer, to help navigate the Darwin.
This morning we woke up at 5am, and headed from our Hotel in Christchurch to the International Antarctic Center to check in for our flight to McMurdo.
Getting our gear together prior to the flight
We then headed to the passenger terminal with all our gear and checked in.
Forrest, checking in.
Some spectacular views from the windows on the way down. Here are some photos of the Antarctica a couple of hours north of McMurdo
Forrest and Graham enjoying the view!
Here’s a short video of the trip we took today. We’re now getting our gear together and will hoepfully be leaving McMurdo for our first field site in about a week. We’ll keep you posted!
We’re currently in Christchurch getting our gear sorted. We’re scheduled to fly to McMurdo at 6am tomorrow. Think clear weather thoughts for us!
Below are a few pictures of Forrest modeling the new season’s Antarctic ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) Gear. We usually only wear up to layer four + a hat and sun glasses in the field unless it gets extra cold viagra generika kaufen schweiz.
Layer 1: Merino thermal underwear and socks.
Layer 2: Polar Fleece pants and jacket
Layer 3: insulated wind/snow proof pants and Bunny (insulated rubber) boots)
Layer 4: Big Red insulated Jacket
Layer 5: Furry hat, balaclava, goggles, neck gaiter, gloves
Layer 6: for extra wind / cold protection put the hood up.
We’re in the final stages of preparation for our trip to Antarctica. We should be on our way to New Zealand by the end of the week. We’ll post some more details of our preparations soon, but we thought we’d let you know about an iPhone App we wrote. It’s pretty basic but it’ll let you follow our progress in the field right from your phone. You can download the app for free from here or visit the app store and search “Geologists On Ice”
It’s that time of year again! We’re gearing up for a new field season in Antarctica. This year we’re heading further south in the TransAntarctic Mountains to map and collect a suite of samples for analysis. We’re scheduled to depart Santa Barbara for Christchurch during the first week of November, so we have a lot of preparations to do before then!
More details about our trip preparations soon, but first, let’s meet this years team. John and Graham will be heading down again, and in addition, we have a couple of new members joining us. Here are some quick introductions:
buy Lyrica cheap Forrest Horton is a PhD student at UCSB. Born in Montana, Forrest moved to the East Coast for school, receiving his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College in Maine. Traumatized by the flat landscape of New England, Forrest has subsequently sought mountainous environments for work, study, and recreation. After dabbling with gold exploration (and mosquitoes) in the Kuskoquim Mountains of Alaska, he raced cross-country ski marathons in Idaho. Eventually realizing that wearing bright spandex doesn’t pay the bills, Forrest embarked to the Indian Himalaya to begin a Masters Degree at San Francisco State University; his research focused on determining the age and origins of granites near the India-Pakistan border. Hired temporarily as a geologist by the Department of Defense, he worked for a stint with the Afghan government to identify mineral resources. At UCSB, Forrest studies the heating of middle and lower crust in young/active (Himalaya) and old/eroded (Madagascar) continental collision zones—for more on his research, visit his website for further details. In California, cold weather and helicopter withdrawal have driven Forrest to take up telemark skiing and paragliding. However, he spends most of his spare time tromping along trails and consuming spicy foods.
where can i buy diuretic lasix Sophie Briggs is a first year PhD student at UCSB. She is originally from New Zealand where she developed an interest in geology while working as a tour guide on White Island, an active marine volcano near her home town of Whakatane. She completed her undergraduate degree in geology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. For her senior honours thesis she investigated the petrology of the Alpine Dike Swarm in south Westland, New Zealand. Before coming to California, she spent four months working in gold and uranium exploration in Western Australia. Sophie enjoys camping, surfing, waterskiiing and playing the ukulele, and is very excited about her first trip to Antarctica. Experiencing a white Christmas in the southern hemisphere will be a first!
The team received their Antarctic Service Medals in the post today! The medals are awarded to those who have served as members of a United States expedition to Antarctica.
The various colors of the ribbon on the medal all have meaning. The outer bands of black and dark blue comprise five-twelfths of the ribbon’s width, representing five months of antarctic darkness; the center portion, by its size and colors – grading from medium blue through light blue and pale blue to white – symbolizes seven months of solar illumination, and also the aurora australis.
There are three words engraved on the reverse of the medal – COURAGE, SACRIFICE, DEVOTION.
For those of you interested in the history of this medal. On July 7, 1960 Congress enacted a new law “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That each person who serves, or has served, as a member of a United States expedition to Antarctica between January 1, 1946, and a date to be subsequently established by the Secretary of Defense shall be presented a medal with accompanying ribbons and appurtenances, under regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of Departments under whose cognizance the expedition falls, such regulations to be subject to the approval of the Secretary of Defense. The regulations may include provisions for award to civilian as well as uniformed members and for posthumous awards.”
Sorry that it has been so long since our last post. We have all been very busy back here at UCSB, our home institution. The field work in Antarctica that you followed along with is only one aspect of this project. Now it’s time for the “science-y” stuff. We have been organizing our samples and preparing them for dating and geochemistry.
Here’s Jason Schmidt, a research assistant working with us this summer, helping archive our samples in the dingy basement of our Earth Science department. We start with whole-rocks collected in the field and try to extract accessory minerals that are useful for dating and geochemistry. We crush the rocks using the disk mill you see below and then send the material down the water table (basically a glorified gold pan). This sorts the material based on grain size and grain density.
Next we use special chemicals to further separate the material based on density. Here I (Graham) am working in the fume hood, isolating dense minerals such as zircon, monazite, titanite, and garnet.
We take the most dense fraction from the “heavy liquids” step, and separate different minerals based on their magnetic properties. We use this funny looking contraption, the Frantz isodynamic separator. After this step, we hopefully have nearly pure separates containing only the accessory minerals that we are interested in.
It’s time to image our samples before analyzing them on the mass-spectrometers. We take cathodoluminescence images using a scanning election microscope.
Finally! It’s time to get some data! The real interesting stuff happens in our plasma-source mass spectrometer lab. We have two lasers and two inductively coupled plasma- mass spectrometers that enable us to measure a wide range of isotopes as well as the concentration of trace elements at several ppm precision!
More to come on the lab work this summer… Stay tuned for updates on the upcoming field season as well!