22 November, 1996

Nov. 22 McMurdo

Max temp - 2.0 C Min temp - 11 C prevailing wind speed 11 knots We sleep until 6:30 this morning. It's nice to sleep late. After breakfast I help filter snow samples collected at the Pole while Jennifer and Dr. Braaten finalize arrangements and finish packing our gear for the field. We discarded much of the stuff in the 4 person kitchen box. We really don't need 8 knives, spoons, forks, plates, cups, a large pressure cooker, whisk, two skillets, loaf baking pan, etc.

Each box of equipment must be labeled and numbered. Dr. Braaten keeps a list so we can readily access what we need in a hurry if we need to. We decide to use the Sierra mountain tents to sleep in. That leaves one Scott tent for a "lounge", cooking, etc. and the other as a "potty" tent. That is better than I feared. At least we will be able to get out of the wind. for some body functions.

I got an e-mail message that my school wants to FAX something to me so I e-mailed them the FAX number, but they haven't been able to get through. Communications sometimes get slow on those kinds of things. E-mail is instant. There is a small delay when talking on the phones to someone in the U. S. so I guess that FAXes might be a problem.

We have to turn in forms for re-deployment from Antarctica soon. It is difficult to know what days to give them when some things are not going smoothly.

Next we go to the Berg Field Center to transport all our equipment from the "cage" to the helo pad. It takes a large truck. I'm amazed at how much gear must be transported. However, Dr. Braaten plans for us to return with hundreds of lb. of snow cores and equipment. He is also planning to dismantle his science project at this site so that requires planning for more things to return. Next season he will sample in other areas. He has sampled at Ferrell automatic weather station for 3 years.

Next we must go to the Mac Ops (McMurdo Communications Operations center to find out what time Dr. Braaten must call in in the morning to tell them we are OK. That determines when we have to wake up each day. At the center they have a board posted with the names of each science group in the field and their location. Dr. Braaten had to give them the map coordinates of the site and was advised on which frequency to use.

We spend most of the evening in the lab finishing the samples that were collected at South Pole. His apparatus sprays very small, colored glass beads (120microns) out over the snow. Since he is interested in snow accumulation relating to wind velocity, he samples the snow in areas downwind of the apparatus. Today we found a green bead that had traveled 1800 meters. That's seems incredible to me. The bead size was chosen to be snow grain size. They are colored so they can be seen. Different colors are released at various times of the year so he can correlate the beads found with when they were released. The automatic weather station at the site gives precise measurements of wind direction and speed every 10 minutes, so he will know what kind of wind is blowing when the beads were released.

We decide not to work too late tonight as we will have a very busy day tomorrow. You won't hear from me for 6 days because I will out in the field.


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