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15 April, 2002

Up close and personal with the snow layers. A camera cannot capture the unique layers of snow. So, a coding system is used to identify the layers. Matthew records this coding system in the field book.

Below is a picture showing the different symbols used to identify the snow layers. Study the picture. A slash mark is used to identify fresh snow. Blobs of circles together indicate a melt layer. A circle with a slash mark through it indicates a hard slab, meaning that wind has redistributed the snow. A sideward F mark indicates the depth hoar.

Below is an example of a snow pit description. Make up your own symbols to identify the layers. Make a key so someone can interpret your layers. Draw a picture describing how you think the snow appeared in the snow pit.

Depth (cm) Snow description

47.5 fresh snow

46.0 new snow

28.0 hard slab of snow

25.0 ice layer

24.0 melted snow clusters

18.0 depth hoar (crystals of snow)

17.5 icy hard slab

13.0 depth hoar (crystals of snow)

0.0 large depth hoar crystals


Latitude: 68.87410 degrees North Longitude: 155.73006 degrees West

Our departure from Ivotuk was crisp and cold. This marked the beginning of our last stretch of the trip. The route would be long, isolated, and desolate to Barrow. We are deep in the Arctic. The cold has sunk in around us and the snow has become deeper. The mountains lay behind us. Our eyes are now lost between the ending of the snow and the beginning of the horizon. The complete whiteness makes it

hard to determine where one ends and the other begins.

Between the whiteouts, we were blessed with the Arctic sun show. The columnar- and plate-shaped ice crystals produced spectacular halos around the sun. Halos form around the sun due to the light reflecting off of, and transmitting through, the ice crystals.

The halos consist of the colors of the rainbow. The rainbow colors form an elliptical circle around the sun. Also, 22 degrees on each side of the sun, sundogs form. Sundogs are faint replicas of the sun. Sundogs make it appear that there are three suns in the sky instead of the one. Rainbow colors, multiple suns, ice crystals glittering and dancing in the sky make up the Arctic sun show. An Arctic magic show occurs amidst the coldness of the blue sky.

We camp tonight in a dip between two shallow hills. Snowdrifts exist on each side of our camp. The snow is

deep. It will be a cold night. The wind is, thankfully, calm.

Temperature max: -18 degrees Celsius Temperature min: -32 degrees Celsius

Camp at sunset.

Jon is recording the information from the snowpit in the field book.

The field book showing the symbols for the layers of snow in a snowpit.

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