1 July, 2000

July 1, 2000

The moment of truth is upon us. The helicopter arrives today at 1:00 PM to transport us, and our gear up to the various camps and field sites on and around the glacier. This is a very expensive and potentially dangerous component of the project. As a result, it is important that things go smoothly. PI Andrew Fountain is distracted and worried. Successful drilling depends on finding a constant source of water (a water-filled crevasse), and a relatively flat spot. Andrew and I will go in on the first flight to look for, and be put down at such a location. Unlike last year, camp for the glacier team will be on the ice near the drilling operation (last year's camp was off the glacier about a mile from the drilling site). U.S. Geological Survey scientist Dennis Trabant will also go in on the first flight and be put down on the "floating ice" portion of the ice dam adjacent to the lake to put in survey reflectors. He plans to put in 30 reflectors on the glacier - this is twice as many as last year. PSU grad student Don Lindsay will be primarily responsible for loading the slings that will be transported by the helicopter. The second flight will include those going into the lake basin - the lake team (PI Joe Walder and PSU grad student Michelle Cunico) and two people from the stream team (U.C. Santa Cruz geomorphologist Bob Anderson and grad student Erin Kraal). Dennis Trabant will then be lifted from the ice dam up to his surveying (and camping) post on the bluff overlooking the glacier and lake. Once these people are in place, their gear will be delivered to them.

(Later) - The helicopter is late by an hour and a half. It seems like an eternity. All of our gear was divided into piles according to their destination hours ago. Everyone is anxious to begin work on the research aspects of this project. Everyone is curious about the appearance of the lake and the level of the water surface. We are planning around last years break out date, which was July 15. We are hoping for two weeks of drilling and placing instruments prior to the flood. This would ensure a robust set of data.

We have spoken with some of the locals about the status of the lake so far this year. A local ranger indicated that as of a few days ago, the lake had very little water and suggested that an early leakage had occurred. A local bush pilot indicated that there is a lot of discharge of water coming off of adjacent drainages and into Hidden Creek Lake. Another local said that the lake appeared to have quite a bit of water in it. Who knows? We hope to find out soon.

A group picture of all the people working on the Kennicott Outburst Flood Project moments before leaving for the various field sites. Pictured from left to right: Joe Walder, Michelle Cunico, Dennis Trabant, Steve Malone, Andrew Malm, Robert Schlichting, Andrew Fountain, Bob Anderson (holding Grace), Suzanne Anderson (holding Hannah), Don Lindsay, Sharon Longacre.

Contact the TEA in the field at .
If you cannot connect through your browser, copy the TEA's e-mail address in the "To:" line of your favorite e-mail package.