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31 December, 2002

Happy New Year!

Cross your fingers! I think I figured out how to get my journals to post without all the extra distracting symbols! Also, please go back and look at the pictures for December 22 about Scott's hut. I'm finally getting caught up with all of the details. Just a reminder that I keep adding "terms to know" on December 13th, so if you run across an acronym (which are rampant in Antarctica!) or an undefined term, check there. (Or e-mail me to explain it if I have left it off the list.)

I can't believe that another year has passed. It's time for some New Year's Resolutions again. I always say, "Get more exercise," but I don't think that will be an issue this year, at least not until I get home!

What a great New Year's this has been so far--Jen and I slept in 'til almost noon. We didn't set our alarms thinking the 9 AM helo would wake us up, but they were grounded and we slept on. We eased ourselves into the day with a couple of cups of latte--an espresso machine! Can you imagine?! Then took LIGHT backpacks and tooled on down the lake on the ATV. We took a leisurely hike back up to the streams we struggled to yesterday--finished our measurements in about 45 minutes and then rode back to Lake Hoare. It's 5:00 and Leslie is cooking up lobsters and steaks, chocolate cake and yummy appetizers. I'm going to go get dressed up in a few minutes--clean jeans and a new fleece--and about six others are expected around and over the glacier about 7:00. Thomas left on the ATV wearing a blue wig to pick up guests at the end of the glacier. Should be a fun evening!

This portion of the journal is especially geared for Naperville North's Earth Science classes. As we take measurements at each stream, I will describe the streams and post pictures of each and list the results of our measurements. The students in those classes are studying past research on these streams and will make comparisons to the new data. Each group has adopted one of the streams, so I hope as I visit and show pictures of your streams, you will have a sense of visiting them, too. Both Wharton and House Creeks flow into the west end of Lake Chad, a small frozen lake that is separated from Lake Hoare by a narrow, rocky spit of land. Water samples were taken at both creeks.

HOUSE CREEK

House Creek flows between two steep rocky slopes. It has a very shallow and narrow streambed littered with many rocks and boulders that fall down the unstable slopes. The western slope may also have litter from the moraine of the Seuss Glacier which is on that slope's backside. Most glaciers in Antarctica are frozen to the base and don't move like glaciers in more temperate zones. Rocks fall on the tops of the glaciers and eventually are deposited in front of them in a terminal moraine, or along the sides in lateral moraines. Unfortunately, we were not able to take any measurements because we couldn't find our elevation marks. We hope to come back and do that later.

WHARTON CREEK

Wharton Creek originates from a waterfall off the far southern edge of the eastern side of the Seuss Glacier. Several feeder streams flow into it along the glacier's edge. On cloudy days those feeders don't run. The flow is extremely sensitive to the solar energy of the day. The streambed is narrow, an average of about two and a half feet across for most of its meandering length. It flows into a large sandy delta and then into Lake Chad. We found several algae beds in the wetted zone, and two in one of the feeder beds up the slope toward the glacier. Along the southern side of the stream we found red, green and black moss in an area about three feet long.

Here are the results of our measurement:

Conductivity= 32.6 uS (microsiemens)

Temperature= 0.5 C

Flow (discharge measurement) = 0.452 cfs (cubic feet per second)

pH=none because our pH probe is broken at the moment

Pebble count average (out of 100) = 1.5" X 1"


1. House Creek streambed. There is a trickle of water

down the center of the rocks but it is hard to see in this picture.


2. Gage on House Creek.


3. Upstream view of the gage on House.


4. Wharton Creek with the Seuss Glacier in the

background. You can see its meandering pattern as it winds its way along the sandy delta toward Lake Chad.


5. Algal mat. My boot toe can give you some scale.

Life is extremely scarce here. We have to be careful as we work not to step on these tiny life forms.


6. For students (and you, Bill Grosser!), who are

interested in the geology of the area, take a look at what the freeze/thaw cycles do to huge boulders--Splits them like they are no stronger than a brick of cheese to a sharp knife.


7. Here's another example of the results of the

amazing weathering process that goes on here.


8. Lake Chad. Both House and Wharton feed this lake with glacial meltwater. Can you see the mummified seal in front of the rock in the foreground? Just two days ago I was asking where I could see one. Now we have seen so many that we take them for granted. How quickly we adjust to our surroundings! Let me know if I assume in my journal that you know something that I have taken for granted.


9. Thomas on the ATV. Fun on the ice.



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