15 November, 1998
Last night was another cold night, but this morning was sunny and warm. I woke up at 7:45 and got going on my 12-hour time point in my experiment at 8:00 am. It didn't take me as long this morning.
There was a point in the morning at which the temperature gauge on the Jamesway read 55 degrees F...the gauge was in the sun, but even so, that's pretty warm for Antarctica! I think it may even be a little colder at home...
It is tradition that John makes crepes (cheese-filled and fruit-filled...yum!) for everyone each Sunday morning, so while John was making crepes, I checked my e-mail messages. The crepes were great!
I checked the preway heater fuel (to make sure that it wasn't going to drain empty on us) and topped off the barrel. I gathered 3 loads of ice berries for our drinking water (more this time because Ed was testing out his sensors and needed a bucket of water to do so). The sensors that he will be placing in the ice will be measuring the liquid water content of the ice. Why is that important to us? Liquid water pockets are what cause sediments to drift down through the ice. They are also important for algal and bacteria photosynthesis. We should be able to relate what he finds with what we find out about the algae and bacteria. There are so many aspects that need to be looked at in an ecosystem. Everything is tied together somehow.
I made 3 loaves of bread and started on an Excel spreadsheet, compiling all of my data from my sediment transect samples on November 6 and 7. My lab book is full of data (what????I am actually keeping a lab book?...I thought that was only for torturing my biology students back home!...No, actually "real" scientists must also keep lab books...how can they remember all of the steps that they take and the data that they collect?), and I want to make it easier for them to do some analysis on the numbers that I have collected. Remember all of those scintillation vials that I filled with sediment? That was what I was typing into a spreadsheet.
As I was typing the spreadsheet, John came into the Jamesway and announced that the pee barrel had overflowed and that we were going to have to siphon off some of the urine and change the barrel. Yuck! Yes, he did siphon off about 5 gallons of the urine (have you ever seen me siphon off the saltwater aquarium in the room...sort of like that where you suck on one end of a tube until you get enough water in the tube to keep the flow going...except this time it was urine)...the frozen urine had to be chipped off the top of the barrel, the barrel capped and rolled down the hill to await flying back to McMurdo. It's much easier to catch it BEFORE it overflows!
I made some sandwiches for lunch (with the baked bread), and then I spent my afternoon helping Ed with digging out his icepit. Actually, I just stayed on the surface and handed Ed what he needed in the pit. He attached a rope ladder into the surface ice with ice screws so anyone could easily climb in and out of the pit. He used the ice chipper bar to chip away ice, collect the ice in a burlap bag, and hand it up to me to dump out on the surface. The main reason he needed me was to "spot" him while he used an electrical chainsaw down in the pit. There was danger of getting caught in the electrical cord, of water and ice building up on the blade, and of getting hurt and not having help. You might be wondering where we get the electricity from. We use portable generators on the ice. They are also used for the burners that are used to melt the ice.
This took the majority of the afternoon. We returned to the Jamesway around 7:00 pm. John made steaks with onions and garlic, baked potatoes, and green beans. At 8:00 pm I did my 24 hour time points in my experiment-- filtering off the 100 ml of meltwater from each of the bottles of sediment (2cm, 300um, and 63um)-- and pouring that filtrate into 3 more bottles (40 ml for nutrient analysis, 30 mls for cation analysis, and 30 mls for anion analysis). Later these bottles will go to the lab at ASA (Antarctic Support Associates) for analysis. They will give us a spreadsheet of the results.
I did the dishes and caught up on my journal once more. I went to bed at 10:30 pm (with my hot water bottle, of course).
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