16 July, 2000

July 16, 2000

After a long day of standing by the drill, monitoring its progress down the sixth hole at this site, we finally ran out of diesel. The drilling operation is finished. Two of the boreholes appear to have connected to some type of englacial drainage system. None of them seem to have gone to the bottom of the glacier. It is unclear what led to refusal of the drill before it reached the bottom. Accumulating rocks and pebbles in the bottom of the hole do not appear to have been the problem with drilling here (as it was at the former site). Don and I each got a bucket of hot water from the heater earlier in the day to shave and clean up. We also poured a bucket of hot water for PI Andrew Fountain. By the time he got to it, the water in the bucket was cold, and the diesel was gone. We tried to squeeze a bit of diesel from the various tanks. It was a heroic effort. But PI Fountain was refused the opportunity to clean up. Bummer.

It rained all day. It was cold. Windy. Every one of us got soaked. We ended the day by huddling in our large tent in front of the propane heater, and attempted to dry various wet garments. According to surveyor Dennis Trabant, the eagle eye on the bluff, the lake is rising fast. Or, as St. Olaf undergraduate Andrew Malm says, the lake is "large and in charge." That is an understatement. It is beginning to fill crevasses behind the leading edge of the ice dam.

Plans are beginning to be formulated for departure. PSU graduate student Don Lindsay starts a new job in a week. He will fly out on the 18th. If the helicopter is available, it will move the drilling and camping gear on the 18th. PI Andrew Fountain has a professional meeting to attend in a week. He and Andrew Malm will leave either on the 18th or the 21st. PSU graduate student Michelle Cunico will join Dennis Trabant at the surveying post. They will continue to survey until the lake goes and the ice dam collapses. Data loggers will continue to collect data from the lake and boreholes, and will be retrieved by Dennis and Michelle. This is the exit strategy devised today. It will likely change a bit over the next day or so.

It was a cold a dreary day today. Like a reptile extracting heat from a rock, PI Andrew Fountain lays on the coil of hose that delivers 220 degree water to the hot water drill. The warm hose effectively takes away the edge of the damp and cold conditions.

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