Monday, January 02, 2006

The Spines of Antarctica

Pictured is the spine of Erebus... however, today I learned that buildings also have spines. Crary Lab- the Antarctic Science building- appears to be a long Jamesway in the style of a ranch house gone military. AKA brown, metal and no roof--- yet the building is no ranch--- it hosts many researchers from fisheries scientists, soil biologists and chemists- and the building stretches as deep as it is wide (but you cannot tell this from the front) The spine of Crary lab is gently sloping ramp that leads into the basement and down a steep hill on which the building rests. The basement is where the pumps aerate the fish tanks and strange experiments brew.

Chills ran up my spine today for the first time in this icy adventure. The temperature has dropped and winds are gusting up to 30 mph off the Ice Shelf. I have run back and forth between the helicoptor pad (HeloOps) equipment staging building and the lab and my dorm room myriad times today--- I have all of the DI water, filter towers, boots, and gear down at the Helopad now waiting for my flight out to the Dry Valleys tomorrow. (The Asgard Range- The Spine of the Taylor Valley pictured below)And good news, it looks like I will be digging my snowpit and sampling early in the season. I am more anxious to get the snow sampled than the streams as I won't need mountaineer support to sample the streams- and I don't want the mountaineers to be overwhelmed by the field requests of other scientists... so, Trevor- the hoss who taught my field safety refresher yesterday will be flying out to Lake Hoare (the field camp where I will be staying) on Friday for a glacier travel refresher and then he will stay in camp until Tuesday so we can catch a Helo up the Canada Glacier on Saturday or Monday to dig and sample my snowpit for trace metals. Then it is likely that my samples will make the boat out on the 16th--- the stream samples can be air mailed later...

The whipping wind is a great contrast to the warmer weather of the last few days...and to the very high temperatures kept in the science and dorm buildings. I cannot help but imagine how loud my tent would be rattling in this....oh, that Trey found me some earplugs!!! (Thanks:)

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