Date: December 16, 2006
Latitude: 77 degrees, 42 minutes South
Longitude: 156 degrees, 23 minutes East
Temperature: −-26°C (−15°F)
Wind Speed: 15 knots
Wind Chill: −39°C (−38°F)
Elevation: 2,392 meters (7,848 feet)
Written by: Joe
Kilometers Traveled 130
Meters of core drilled: 130
Notes on daily life
Finally, after a month and a half on the ice, we have made it to our first drill site outside of Taylor Dome. It feels good to be done with all the preparation and be focusing on the real reason we came down here; collecting scientific data. Andrei and I started off the morning doing some physical labor as we dug a two-meter deep pit outside of camp, which we will eventually use as our site for the 50 meter 3 inch ice core. Brian assisted Lora while she fired up her radar and took some measurements around the area. Josh was busy working on our main electrical generator which mysteriously stopped working around mid–morning. Fortunately, we have a back–up generator that is currently handling the majority of the load we need to keep the buildings warm and habitable. At these temperatures things can get extremely cold very quickly, making even relatively simple tasks, such as melting water problematic. Hopefully, the generator conundrum will be solved soon and we can go back to our regular set up.
Rick, Steve, and Brian collected the barrels of fuel that were dropped off here several weeks ago and packed them onto our cargo sleds. We cannot haul all the fuel for the entire the traverse, so there are several places along our route where fuel caches have been placed for us. After lunch, Dan D., Andrei and I started sampling the pit that we had dug in the morning. This will be analyzed for various trace elements, metals and stable isotopes. This was quite a long process and we were kept busy until late in the evening. Good thing we don’t have to worry about working in the dark around here! Mike, Gordon, Dan B., Paul, Steve, and Lora were all chipping in on the 2–inch drilling which was taking place next door to the snow pit sampling site. By the end of the day, 20 m of two-inch diameter core were collected. Great job guys!
Everyone was working long hours in the cold so Cathy’s steak, tempeh, and shrimp dinner was gobbled up quickly and in large quantities. Lots of calories are burned very quickly when working in this kind of environment. We joke that maybe a new Antarctic style diet will become the next fashionable weight loss craze. Lose 5 pounds a day or your money back!
Date: December 17, 2006
Latitude: 76 degrees, 46 minutes South
Longitude: 153 degrees, 22 minutes East
Temperature: −28°C (−18°F)
Wind Speed: 7 knots
Wind Chill: −38°C (−37°F)
Elevation: 2,392 meters (7,848 feet)
Written by: Lora
Meters of core drilled: 163
Kilometers traveled: 130
Pisten Bully Blues
The major news of the day is that the Pisten Bully broke a hydraulic line and is currently immobile. Josh, Brian and I were collecting a radar line from camp to 20 km up–flow. At 18 km out, the Pisten Bully abruptly stopped. Josh immediately diagnosed the problem and said the Pisten Bully would not be moving anytime soon. We called camp on the satellite phone for a pick up.
Meanwhile back at camp, the ice core drilling operation was at full speed. Mike, Andrei, Dan D. and Joe were drilling with the 3–inch drill and Gordon, Paul and Steve were drilling with the 2–inch drill. Rick was doing maintenance on the generator and Cathy was busy melting water and preparing food for the next traverse. The work and drilling stopped when our phone call came in. Everyone at camp unloaded the ice core boxes to free up a Siglin sled to haul the Pisten Bully. Rick and Paul drove the fork Cat out to pick us up. (The vehicles drive about 10km per hour so it took nearly 2 hours to reach us.)
When our pick up arrived, Paul said he would need to see the AAA auto insurance on the Pisten Bully before he would tow us. We all laughed. We did not have all the tools to get the Pisten Bully on the sled, so we unhooked the Radar Sled, and piled into the cab of the Cat. It was a long trip back. When we got back to camp, Josh called McMurdoto to request the part for the Pisten Bully repair. Hopefully a plane will bring the part tomorrow and Josh will get the Pisten Bully up and running again.
Even with the Pisten Bully problem we got a lot of science done today. The 2–inch core is finished with 25 meters. The 3–inch drill is already 20 meters down of what hopefully will be a 50 meter hole. Dan B. has his density logger up and running, and scanned the bottom meter of the 2-inch core. Brian got 18 km of good radar data. We don’t expect the Pisten Bully problem to slow down the science work.