15 January, 1997
I will start by telling you that you can send any questions you wish directly to me even at this remote field camp of Lake Bonney because we have telnet linkage via satelite connection. To send me a question just send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your questions come to me and are not posted on the journal for everyone else to read. I know you must wonder about life here in the Antarctic at a remote field camp.
Let me tell you about this field camp. There are four of us who flew in to Lake Bonney. There is a Jamesway building here that serves as a living space for us. It has a gas stove, refrigerator,two large tables and chairs and a propane heater. It also has a generator so we have power to run the lab equipment, disc players with good speakers, hf radio and field radio communication system, my laptop computer, a phone, books,and a major recycling plan that includes sorting paper, plastic, and cans. Water is used very carefully. All water is collected and recycled. There is virtually only footprints left here by the research teams. Anyone who will be in the field for several hours must take a pee bottle and collect any urine, bring it back and pour it into the evaporator. We have a huge pot of water heating on the room heater. That water is used for cooking, hot drinks and washing hands and face. There are no showers here, or laundry. We have a wind meter and thermometer just outside the window by the stove. The shelves are loaded with canned and dried food. The Jamesway can easily house 8 people.
We sleep in tents or on the lake ice in a weather port. I am in the weather port. There is a wooden floor about 20 cm above the ice and two plastic windows. My view is up the valley looking at the mountain range. While the wind roars through the floor and under the structure it is still securely staked onto the ice with large ice screws.
To do the limnology testing, we must collect 5 liters of water at each meter of depth. This lake is about 40 meters deep. Before collecting the water, all of the bottles are labeled and carried out to the hole in the lake by a banana sledge. A special bottle (called a Niskin Bottle)is lowered into the lake on a wench, trap doors are closed using a weight when the desired depth is reached, the bottle is raised and water siphoned into a series of bottles for each test needed. Any extra water collected is poured into a grey water collection bottle for recycling. It can not be dumped back into the lake. We began actual water collestion at 5:00 a.m. and finished at 11:30. The afternoon was spent filtering all of the samples. I filtered for three of the tests, a process that took six hours. I was using a 4 microliter filter to collect all of the cells. The filters are kept and used to test for chlorophyll. The water is kept for use with two other tests including ion concentrations. I have already told you about some of the other tests. It takes two full days of work by three people to complete one limnology sampling for one site. We will do two test sites for Bonney Lake because it has two lobes separated by a narrow passage.
After finishing, I hiked up to the Hughes glacier to get some ice to eat. It has trapped gases within and snaps and crackles when it melts. That was really fun.
Do you have any questions about the kinds of lab work I am doing, or how one can do the lab in the field? What would you like to know about this valley? Do you know why it was selected to be one of 18 LTER sites?
Tomorrow I will take a helicopter to Lake Frixell to take some light meter readings, the same readings that I did on Lake Hoare the other day. Protocols are followed exactly for all the tests done on each lake. That is all for today.
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