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3 July, 2000

Mile 18

Today, my day was full of science. It began early this morning. Overnight, we had very cold temperatures that resulted in an ice fog. The ice fog makes the camp look mystical as it creeps in and covers everything. Rime is deposited in ice fog. I complained a few days ago about the lack of rime formation for my study. Well, my prayers were answered. There was so much rime formation last night that I collected two jars for my study, 2 jars for Hans' H2O2/HCOC study and 1 jar for a group from Perdue University. It was a good collection day.

Over the past 36 hours, I had been collecting snow samples for Hans. We are investigating the concentration of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the snow over an extended period of time, parcticularly after the new snowfall we had 2 nights ago. After ten samples were collected (every 4 hours for 36 hours) my next job was to analyze them. This meant that I was to work in the science trench. The science trench is a large hole dug 12 feet down into the glacier. The walls, floor and ceiling are covered in wood but it is cold down there because is does not receive any sunlight. The ambient temperature is -5C and it feels like a freezer. After running snow samples through the analyzer for 3 hours, I too began to freeze. Each sample takes approximately 8 minutes to be analyzed. After I put a sample into the analyzer, I would run up to our weather port that is 25 feet away from the science trench. We have a heater in the weather port so I sat in front of it to warm up before I had to process the next sample. This was the only way I could stay warm.

After a quick bit to eat and a warm house to sit in, Ted asked me to help him with a diffusivity study. We took samples (as described in previous journals) for 30 minutes. After these samples were taken, they too needed to be analyzed. At least this time, I analyzed the samples in a very nice, warm weather port. The scientists who work here are very active with research and the best part is they play music (although to goof on me, Matt played Neil Diamond for a short time). The processing of this data took an additional 3 hours. By the end of the day, my eyes were very tired from looking at so many numbers in these analyzing machines.

It's getting close to the end of our stay here at Summit and it appears that many folks are showing signs of burn out. Some are homesick while some are just tired of being on the ice so long. I keep reminding them that this is mile 18 of the marathon. Up until now, it was easy running. All you have to do to finish is to stay focused. That's what keeps me from quitting endurance events. With all my experience in marathons and Ironman, I feel that I have to encourage these folks to hang in there too. I have not developed homesickness yet but one never knows when you can hit the wall. The name of the game is focus and I'm very good at that.

Ciao, Cathi

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