12 June, 2000
Five sample bottles were all lined up on the table. Behind them were ominously tall flasks, jars with long plastic tips, and serious- looking reagent bottles. Time for the test- calibration test for the Ionic Chromatograph (IC). Could I mix standard solutions so that they fit a straight-line graph on the computer? Wearing sterile gloves, which, as we all know, always help with dexterity, and never passing my arm over any open container (a flake of skin can drive that little line wild), I began. The first step involved a new twist on pick-up sticks. One had to manipulate the pipette tip onto the pipette without touching either with a hand. Then came the multiple sterile water rinses. Time to set up the 5 levels of standard solution. Just so much water in each bottle and then a sort of sharing/transfer of reagent down the line so that the next bottle ended up with half the reagent as the previous one. Oh, and touching any bottle rims was a no-no. Matt led me through setting up a method and schedule for calibration on the computer program for the IC. We had to work my calibration runs in between the actual sample runs that were using Matt's calibration so it took a large portion of the morning to get through all 5. At last, the proof - did the peak values on the standard graphs create a straight-line graph themselves as they should? My acetate graph was perfect, but I had one slightly wayward point on the formate graph. Not bad for the first time, but not a 100% either. Oh well.
Wednesday will be be my last day in Summit. Tomorrow I hope to walk out to the Greenland Ice Sheet Project Two (GISP2) site. There is an ice core hole that goes clear into the bedrock, a depth of over 3000 meters and represents greater than 250,000 years of ice core record.
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