12 August, 1997
Nevins Journal 08/12/97
Went out with soil scientists today to take samples in the active layer and to try to cut cores in the permafrost for analysis of the pollen and carbon content.
The team started out by cutting down to the frost at the
site and taking out blocks of moss and soil. (They used blocks so that the sample site could be returned to as close to original condition as possible.) The hole was cleaned out to the frost level at about 32 cm and then the undisturbed wall was scraped so that layers would show.
Jim Bockheim worked in the open hole to identify and measure the soul layers while Lynn Everett recorded the data and Wendy Eisner collected material for the pollen analysis. The examination and photographing of the soil layers took about an hour and then a complete set of samples of known volumes was taken to enable an analysis of the materials that make up the soil.
In lab the samples will be checked for carbon content, pH,cations, and plant nutrient content. The carbon is of parcticular intrest interest to the people on this part of the project because in many ofthe of the global warming models the build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will cause a greenhouse effect. As the weather warms, more permafrost thaws and more methane and carbon dioxide will be added to the atmosphere which will in turn increase the warming and so on in a repeating cycle. (This type of cycle is called a positive feedback loop.) The start up or encouragement of a positive feed back loop is unstable because it tends to cause change rather than stability.
The human body and the bodies of animals do not use positive feedback loops to maintain homeostasis (balance ) in the body. Most body systems use a negative feedback loop so as to avoid causing extreme swings on the function of body systems. One of the few systems to use positive feedback is the uterus at the time of delivery of a baby.
When we tried to drill into the permafrost, the drill would not start at first. After about a half hour of working on the drill we finally got it started but for some reason the drill would not turn .so we were unable to extract our core sample. We did notice that the oil on the motor was low on oil so when we got back to camp, they added oil and we hope that will make the drill work.
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