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29 January, 1997

Closing up Shop:

In the next week, all of the labs will be cleaned up and packed away for this summer season of research on the ice. Field camps are made secure for the winter and much of the equipment is air lifted back to the Crary Lab at McMurdo Station. Here in the lab, samples are made ready for shipment back to the home labs of the scientists. I will have some mat and lake water shipped back for my use at Lakeside School in Seattle Washington. The ship for transporting the frozen samples and bulky gear is due into port on Saturday. Do you think they will survive the trip? What might cause some problems for them? Is there any way that I can avoid those problems? Send your advice as soon as possible as time is running out.

We had a storm today with blowing snow and very poor visibility. The snow is quite dry and is slow to accumulate, but we have 4 inches by noon. Helicopters were grounded again due and the flight schedules to Christ Church New Zealand is getting very complex with all of the "beakers" wanting to get home.

I spent the day today working with the video system trying to capture video of the rotifers feeding as well as some of the tardigrades. After several hours of tinkering we got the system up and running only to discover that the monitor would not play back the tape. After an hour of taping, I took the tape to my video camera to check and was disappointed to find that I have no recurring at all. I have just a few more days to capture some images before the equipment gets packed away, or prepared for routine maintenance.

Dr. Klive Williams, a New Zealand scientist who has been studying the Onyx River in the Wright Valley gave a lecture tonight about hydrology in the river valley. Our stream team and the limnology team were all in the audience and we had some lively discussions. This river is 35 km long , the longest river in Antarctica. It is unique in several ways. First, the river bed dries up every year. There are only about 6 weeks out of every year that water actually flows. The first melt water to flow has very high nitrates and phosphates, then the level goes way down. It is thought that the high levels are caused by snow melt with atmospheric gases causing this high levels. When the snow is gone and the melt water is coming from glacial ice melt, the levels of nitrates and phosphates dramatically decrease. Hmmmm, very interesting. What do you think that means?

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