27 November, 2003
Location: McMurdo Station, Antarctica
While we were out in the field, we collected samples from dead seals that were found on the lake ice. The samples were taken from the "fingers and toes" of the dead seals. Back in the States, the samples will be radio carbon dated to determine the age of the seals. Peter hopes to use the C-14 dating process to prove or dis-prove a theory that the Dry Valley lakes were ice free about two hundred years ago. The seal samples had been kept frozen until yesterday afternoon.
Yesterday, I retrieved the seal samples from the freezer and prepared them for drying in the oven. They need to be dried so that no special care needs to be taken during the shipping process to the US. I placed all the samples in a drying oven, set the temperature for 80*F and let them dry for about 20 hours.
Today, I retrieved the seal samples from the drying oven. Seal jerky anyone? I wrapped each sample, placed each in a zip lock baggie - "burped" each bag to get the air out, and labeled each baggie with the appropriate sample number. The data sheet which recorded the sample number, GPS collection information, and the seal length was included in the packaging box. The "before and after" photos of the collection will also be included in the package; it is just about ready for shipping. I am very curious to learn the results of the testing!
As I was preparing the "seal jerky", Peter and Phil were assembling, testing, and packing the next weather station to be deployed into the field tomorrow. We will take this new weather station to Garwood Valley first thing tomorrow morning.
All is well and I'm having the time of my life!
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