17 July, 2000

July 17, 2000

The drill has been dismantled and is ready to be slung by helicopter to McCarthy. Our camp will be folded up in the morning. The helicopter will arrive at 2:00 PM tomorrow. PSU graduate student Michelle Cunico will join surveyor Dennis Trabant on the bluff. The rest of us (PI Andrew Fountain, St. Olaf undergraduate Andrew Malm, PSU grad student Don Lindsay and myself) will fly off the glacier. Don will immediately head for Portland. It is not clear when the rest of us will leave McCarthy.

It was a stunning day today. Yesterday's storm broke up this morning, and the day was filled with broken clouds and periods of intense sun. Andrew Malm finished his last couple of ice radar lines, Don Lindsay downloaded some data loggers at the former drill site, and Andrew Fountain prepared another pressure transducer to be dropped down the final hole we drilled yesterday. I have mixed feelings about leaving the glacier before the outburst flood (the lake is still on the rise - the surface is 21 feet higher than when the lake drained last year). It would be exciting to stick around and observe the flood. However, a number of us, including me, have obligations away from here that cannot be ignored.

We all observed a HUGE calving event this afternoon. A 300-meter stretch of the front of the ice dam disintegrated. It was floating high above the water line, and spontaneously fell apart, crumbling in all directions. It made lots of noise.

This will likely be my last journal entry for a while. The satellite phone that I use to connect to the TEA website is going up to the surveying point with Dennis and Michelle. It will be their only contact with the outside world. I will continue to keep a journal until I arrive back in Portland, but will not download them until I return. As a result, I will not be responding to email messages either.

Here I am downloading a journal entry from our camp site on the Kennicott Glacier. The satellite phone sits on the orange box, and the antenna is mounted on the inside of the lid which is tilted up and toward the satellite (at 27 degrees east of south). My computer provides the internet and email software through which my email messages and journal entries were transferred to the phone.

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