Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gotta get my races in somehow....

It's good to know all that ultrarunning paid off....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

WAIS Divide Sea Level Approaching!

Greetings again from WAIS Divide.  We've moved to three shifts and we are drilling like maniacs.  We are now regularly pulling up 3.4 meter cores each run (over 1 meter longer than last year).  When we reach a depth of about 1750 meters, we will be somewhere near sea are all having a "Sea level party" this weekend.  Everyone brought beachside attire and beach-themed items and we are going to celebrate being over half-way to the bottom of the ice sheet.  Should be fun.

Otherwise, things are pretty routine now.  I've been getting samples on a regular basis that I have to mount and prepare for next summer at the NICL.  Also, several people have left camp already, including Bruce and Geoff.  Christmas is one week away, and people are getting excited about that.  Looking forward to a nice dress-up dinner and some gift exchanging.

I'm missing AGU back home right now where a lot of my grad student and faculty cohorts are presenting their research and posters, and giving talks (including my advisor).

I've been running pretty regularly here up and down the skiway (much more than last year).  It's hard to keep it up though.  It's very boring and very cold.

Thats about it, I'll try to update again soon.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

First Week at WAIS

Things are progressing here.  We've drilled our first ice cores and everyone is happy.  Today is Sunday, so we all have off.  All in all, everyone is in good spirits and we are all excited christmas is close.  The season starts in full 3 shift mode tomorrow!  Here are some pic highlights from this week:

I got to sit in the cockpit of the DC-3 Basler.  It wasn't to much different than the Cessnas I've flown

Image of the Instruments

view of tent city on a cloudless evening

Dug a backlit snow pit

After I sampled it (density and isotopes)

 We drilled our first core of the season!

First core of 09/10 season

I got to marshall in an LC-130 Herc plane.  Basically this
means I stood on the skiway and directed it in.

One of the other core handlers broke her leg right before coming
down, so carved her name in snowblocks and set her this pic.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Some WAIS photos! (very low res)

Getting on the LC-130 in McMurdo

Hey everyone! I was able to use some compression software to shrink some of my photos way down so that I could post them.  Here are a couple...

My plush tent this year!

Thanksgiving Pies!!!!

JP building an igloo single handedly

32 full boxes of ice cores ready for shipment (128 cores)

backside of camp

An LC-130 Herc AND a Basler both on the skiway
(WAIS international airport!)

IDDO guys testing their RAM drill

Rebecca (Penn State) getting ready to head out on Cresis traverse

Sridhar and Luke (Basler in background) getting ready
to head out on Cresis Traverse

In front of the WAIS Sign (before it was moved to Galley)

Bess's birthday cakes!

Fellow Penn State Cresis guys heading out on traverse
Have a great season guys!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quick Update from WAIS Divide

Greetings everyone (sorry no pics this round),

I have made it safely to WAIS Divide and we have been hard at work here.  Since arriving 1 week ago, we have busily been packing up and palletizing ice cores from last season so that they can be shipped out on LC-130 herc flights back to mcmurdo, where they'll stay until February when they will finally all get shipped back to the US on large shipping vessel. 

All of the rest of the group has arrived here, and we are all getting along quite well.  At the current pace, we should have all of last year's core packed up by early next week.  The drillers are estimating being able to start drilling new core around Dec 12th, which lines up nicely with our schedule. 

Once we start drilling new core, I will begin cutting and mounting small samples of ice on glass plates that will be used to study physical properties of the core.  I used similar samples that were mounted 2 years ago, as the basis for my Masters Research.

Things are settling in otherwise.  I celebrated my birthday at McMurdo, and Thanksgiving here at WAIS.  Believe it or not, we had a huge dinner, replete with turkey and wine.  Quite a feast.  Christmas is only a few short weeks away, and then New Years.  It seems that the season is already flying by (considering I've been away from home now for over a month).

It is truly great to be back here.  I spent the last few evening walking around away from camp on the wide open ice sheet and it is easy to remember why I like studying this place.  Don't get me wrong though, I do miss people back home too.

Obviously the very limited internet is back up here, but it is just that...very limited.  I will do my best to update, but it will be sketchy.

I hope to post a few low res pics here in the near future so stay tuned.

so long from WAIS Divide, and I will write again soon.

-Antarctic John

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Penguins at Cape Royds!

Adelie Penguin the Rookery

Finally did get to see a whole slew of penguins and seals. We took a unofficial expedition up to Cape Royds here near McMurdo and got to see scores of Adelies. In addition, we got to see Scott's Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans, and of course Shackleton's Hut at Cape Royds. I will post more pics and videos when I can.

Barne Glacier Front (with seal)

More Penguins!

Hundreds of Penguins

The very close open waters on the other side of Cape Royds

Mother Weddell Seal and her pup

Penguin Videos Part 1

Penguin Videos Part 2

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Condition 2 in McMurdo and an Open-Mic Night!

Well the Weather has taken a nasty turn here in McMurdo. There's a feisty low pressure system in the Ross Sea that is hammering Ross Island. The good news is that is actually not that cold. The bad news is that with the 50+ knot wind gusts and blowing snow, it is actually pretty intense outside. On a lighter note, I headed over to the Coffee House last night and played a few songs at their Friday night open-mic night. It was really fun. There are a lot of talented musicians down here.

Here's a link to McMurdo's Webcam: McMurdo LIVE WEBCAM

Condition 2

Condition 2 (Hut Point)

View from my office

Nearing Condition 1

Suited up in big-red (in the safety of my warm dorm room)

open-mic night

Brisk Walk out to Hut Point

Thursday, November 12, 2009

RUNNING Observation Hill Trail, Antarctica!

Here are some video clips I took while briskly running along the Ob Hill Loop trail. I was smart enough to wear a neck gaiter this time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hiking Observation Hill Trail, Antarctica

Trail head for Observation Hill Loop Trail

Went out last night and hiked around the Observation Hill Loop Trail.  This is probably my favourite of the smaller trails here in McMurdo.  The 9 mile Castle Rock loop is obviously much longer, but requires checking in and out with the Firehouse and the carrying of radios.  It also is involves walking/running mostly on snow.

View of the Pressure Ridge and the Ross Ice Shelf
(with White Island off in the distance)

View from the trail looking back toward the road

Looking up at Observation Hill's Peak.  You can just
make out the Scott's Memorial wooden cross at the top
(click image to view larger version) 

Majestic Mt. Discovery seen from the trail

Coming around back into town (McMurdo)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trail Running in Antarctica

Ross Island Trail System Marker, Antarctica

Decided to go for a little run last night...and man was it cold!  I layered up nicely, but didn't anticipate the high winds.  Even fully geared up and running hard, my face was extremely cold.  I forgot my neck gaiter and paid for it with some light frost nip on my face.  The trail was worth it though.  Great views of Mt. Discover, Observation Hill, and the Sea Ice.  It's a great, albeit feisty, little trail.  Today I hope to get out and do the Ob Hill loop around the base of Observation Hill.  This was my favourite trail from last year.  Once it warms up a little, I also hope to rent out some skis from the gear supply depot here.

McMurdo is very overcrowded this year and busting at the seams with people.  I can't wait to get out to WAIS Divide, but it's going to be a while as the flights keep getting delayed due to weather.

Hut Point Loop Trail

Hut Point Loop Trail Climb

Observation Hill (off in distance) and McMurdo

Mt. Discovery as seen from McMurdo