Photo gallery Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4  Taylor Dome

Date:   December 14, 2006
Latitude:   77 degrees, 42 minutes South
Longitude:   156 degrees, 23 minutes East
Temperature:  −-26°C (−15°F)
Wind Speed:  calm
Wind Chill:  −26°C (−15°F)
Elevation:  2,392 meters (7,848 feet)
Written by:  Joe
Kilometers Traveled 55
Meters of core drilled: 108

Notes on daily life

This morning was a beautiful East Antarctic morning; a perfect bluebird day to begin our expedition.  After final configuration of the trains, slightly modified after yesterday’s test run, we were off and running.  Well not quite running, more like trotting.  Our average speed was a whopping 8 km/hr, or about 5 mph. Apart from the initial jerk (it takes quite a bit of force to get the trains in motion) the ride is quite smooth.  The feeling is somewhat of a mix between the sensation of riding on a train and that of a boat.  Once we are ready to go, a radio check is done so that we are sure everyone is safely on board and prepared to go.  When the all clear is confirmed, the Pisten Bully, equipped with the crevasse detecting radar and pulling the drill sled, heads out on the trail.  Today Josh was at the reins with Paul by his side monitoring the crevasse detector. Many hours have been spent studying satellite data and ice flow models to carefully plan our route to avoid any potential crevasse areas, but safety is priority number one so we monitor the radar at all times.

Once the Pisten Bully was on its way, train number 1 containing the science cargo, fuel drums, ice core boxes, outhouse, and mechanic’s shelter departed.  Rick did an excellent job as that train's engineer today.  After about 5 minutes train number 2 made tracks pulling the generator sled, Blue Room, Kitchen, and Brian’s radar sled.  Dan D. manned the controls of that set up.  We did not get stuck in the snow today and 55 kilometers later we were ready to stop for the evening. 

As another safety precaution we stop every 10 km and do a quick check of the cargo to make sure everything is secure and do a head count to confirm that no one was accidentally left behind.  While traveling there is a mix of work and play.  Brian, Steve, and Gordon do the majority of their work while the trains are in motion, so they remain quite busy during travel.  The rest of us who are not operating a vehicle find other things to do to occupy the time.  Some chose to nap, read, watch movies, or work on their scientific research.

Date:   December 15, 2006
Latitude:   76 degrees, 46 minutes South
Longitude:   153 degrees, 22 minutes East
Temperature:  −25°C (−13°F)
Wind Speed:   10 knots
Wind Chill:  −36°C (−33°F)
Elevation:  2,392 meters (7,848 feet)
Written by:  Lora
Meters of core drilled: 108
Kilometers traveled:  130

On the road again

Another day of traversing.  We had a bit of a delayed start this morning; Steve’s radar was not working.  It took about an hour to get it online before we set off for site 06-02.  (Taylor Dome was site 06-01.)  Mike took the helm of the second train for the first time.  He drove 70 km without getting stuck.  Not bad for his first time driving a big rig.  Rick drove the first train while Josh and Andrei led in the Pisten Bully. 

For the first leg of the trip, (each leg is 10 km and takes about and hour), I rode with Brian in the radar sled or pope mobile.  I learned to monitor the radar while we are in motion.  The radar sled, which I wish to rename the "Vomit Comet", is notorious for making people motion sick.  I was no exception.  Brian’s sled is attached to the train by a 50-foot long rope.  The rope keeps the radar away from the other sleds that can add noise to the radar’s signal.  The rope stretches and contracts as the Cat pulls it forward.  This stretching creates a rocking motion along with the forward motion.  This is the motion that seems to make everyone but Brian sick.  I made it 40 minutes before I had to step out on the back deck of the sled for some fresh air.  I was counting the kilometers until we stopped, but am happy to report that I kept my breakfast inside me.

Brian’s deep probing radar is gathering some very interesting and very good data. The radar pulse is able to penetrate all the way through the ice sheet and bounce off the bedrock.  Brian can monitor the depth to bedrock, and therefore the ice thickness, as well as see internal layers.  The internal layers thin, thicken, rise and fall.  These internal layer patterns tell glaciologists how the ice flows, accumulates and ablates.  This type of radar data is used to determine where to drill ice cores and for models of ice sheet flow and history. When I was in the radar sled the ice thickness reached a maximum of 2000 meters.

After my ride in the radar sled, I went back to the kitchen for the rest of the day to ride with Cathy and Joe.  Steve, Paul, Gordon, Dan B. and Dan D. rode in the Blue Room. Steve was monitoring his shallow radar while Dan B. worked on his density logger.  Gordon was monitoring the GPS with help from Paul.  Dan D. took a surface snow sample midway through the day.    These surface samples will be used to look at the spatial distribution of snow chemistry and isotopes.

At the end of the day we reached our drill site for core 06-02.  Paul, Brian and Steve compared the radar data to find the best place to drill the core.  They are looking for an area where the internal layers are relatively flat. This will help insure a good core where the annual layers are well defined and not disturbed by ice motion.