13 March, 1999
March 13, 1999
Hello from the Nathaniel B. Palmer! What a beautiful day we had today. It started out very gray -- much like all of the other days throughout the past few weeks. But the abundance of icebergs along today's transit was awesome, and everyone kept running outside to take pictures even though the sky wasn't very inviting. After lunch, the sun broke through! We actually saw some blue sky, and the still abundant icebergs made it even more gorgeous. It was amazing. We are in one of several areas around Antarctica nicknamed "iceberg alley." We have driven past hundreds and hundreds of icebergs that are lined up nearly parallel to the continent. Many of the icebergs that we are seeing calved off the Ronne Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea (on the other side of the peninsula). Winds and ocean currents have moved the icebergs around the peninsula to this side and concentrated them in this narrow zone. Although they begin their lives as tabular bergs (flat on top), the waves, storms, and warmer surface waters have broken them into smaller pieces . . . resulting in the spectacular shapes that we saw today.
I wanted to take some time to introduce you to the rest of the scientists on the night shift. The journal on March 8 featured Julia, the scientist in charge of the night shift. The other scientists are Diane Winter, Tamara Misner, and Hannah Campbell. Diane is from Lincoln, Nebraska. She graduated from Lincoln East High School in 1986; and attended the University of Nebraska, where she received her B.S. in Biology in 1990. She continued at the University of Nebraska to work on her M.S. in Geology, which she received in 1995. In her research, she investigated three cores from Antarctica -- two from the dry valleys and one from the ocean in front of the dry valleys. Specifically, she was looking at the diatoms in the core sediments. Diane has now started working on her Ph.D. at Florida State University in Geology. While she was working in the Antarctic Research Facility at Florida State, she met Dr. Anderson. All Antarctic cores are stored at this facility, and he had traveled to Florida to investigate the cores that we took while we were in Antarctica last winter. Diane is here as a result of that encounter, and she is very happy that she was able to come with us to Antarctica. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, reading, and baking. She also enjoys watching people . . . and singing "off-key."
Tamara Misner is from Omaha, Nebraska. After graduating from Omaha Westside in 1990, she began attending Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. She later transferred to the University of Nebraska, and graduated in 1998 with a B.S. in Geology and a minor in Biology. Tamara met Dr. Anderson this past summer while learning how to use some seismic equipment. After that, she began working for him in the lab at Rice University. Dr. Anderson was very impressed with her abilities, and she was asked to come and work on this trip to Antarctica. She is really glad to have the opportunity to study science in such a neat environment. Tamara is currently living in western Pennsylvania, and she hopes to begin graduate school, studying geology, within the next year or two. She enjoys parcticipating in a Chinese internal style martial art called Tai Chi Chuan. Tamara also enjoys hiking, biking, and camping.
Hannah Campbell grew up outside of Baltimore, Maryland. She has five sisters and one brother, and she graduated from Woodlawn High School in 1995. When she first arrived at Rice University, she was majoring in both Biochemistry and French studies. After taking a course titled "Geology of National Parks," Hannah decided that she really liked geology. She took several more geology classes, and eventually changed her second major from Biochemistry to Geology. She was working in a carbonate sedimentology lab in the geology department when she found out about Dr. Anderson's trip to Antarctica. She is really excited that she was able to come along, and will be using some of the data that we have gathered for her senior research project on the timing of glaciation in the Ross Sea. Hannah enjoys being outside, and likes mountain and road biking. She also likes playing soccer and listening to live music. During the fall semester of next year, Hannah will be traveling to Madagascar with the School for International Training. She will be studying conservation and tropical ecology in the rain forests of Madagascar. She is now a senior at Rice University, and will graduate in May of 2000.
Today, we crossed from the Amundsen Sea into the Bellingshausen Sea. Yesterday's question was: "Who was Thaddeus von Bellingshausen?" There is some discrepency, according to the history books, as to who was the first person to actually see the continent of Antarctica. Some say that it was the American sealer, Nathaniel Brown Palmer. Others say it was the English naval captain, Edward Bransfield. Still others say it was the Russian captain, Thaddeus von Bellingshausen. Bellingshausen was a captain in the Imperial Navy, and led the first Russian circumnavigation of the globe in 1803-1806. He really admired the travels of Captain James Cook, who was the first person to travel south of the Antarctic Circle. Czar Alexander I asked Bellingshausen to lead a journey south, with a dual purpose of expanding the work done by Cook in the Southern latitudes and sailing as far south as possible toward the Pole. His two ships crossed the Antarctic Circle on Januaray 26, 1820. This was the first time that the Antarctic Circle had been penetrated since Cook in 1773. Bellinghausen's log books record that he reached a position of 69 degrees 21 minutes South and 2 degrees 14 minutes West -- which would have put him within 20 miles (and sight) of land. Twelve days later, his logs indicate that he was even closer to the continent. His record books, however, don't indicate that he actually saw land. Perhaps he didn't recognize the ice-covered terrain as being land and not icebergs. Maybe he expected to see trees and vegetation. At any rate, it is thought that he is the first person to see the continent . . . even though he probably didn't recognize his own accomplishments.
Tomorrow will be another transit day. We are traveling at about ten or eleven knots . . . but we have to travel about 400 more miles. That means 36 to 40 more hours before we arrive at Eltanin Bay. We are going to stop there and do a short study before continuing up to Marguerite Bay. When we were looking at Diane's biography, it was mentioned that she studied diatoms found in sediments from the dry valleys. What are the dry valleys? We'll look at that in tomorrow's journal. Until then . . .
Latitude: 70 degrees, 24 minutes South
Longitude: 100 degrees, 56 minutes West
Temperature: -3.6 degrees C
Barometer: 967.8 mb
Wind Speed: 4.8 knots
Wind Direction: 139 degrees (from the Southeast)
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