15 January, 1998
Hi again! Still waiting in Christchurch New Zealand. The weather has been very bad in Antarctica, so the flights are delayed. I have met Matt Thompson, a weather observer for the flights to and from Antarctica. He says to "sit tight" and we will be able to fly there soon! We spent some time touring Christchurch today. We visited the Botanical Gardens and the Canterbury Museum. They have an Antarctic display. I learned that there are no polar bears in Antarctica - I guess I will be the ONLY bear in Antarctica! As I promised, I will introduce you to my research team mates. John Anderson is the Chief Scientist. He oversees the research project that brings us to Antarctica. Dr. Anderson has visited Antarctica 19 times! He studies the history of the ice sheet that covers 98% of the continent! Dr. Anderson's research shows that the ice sheet was much larger during the last great ice age. Our work during this cruise is to find out just how much larger the ice sheet was! Kim Giesting is one of my teammates. I will be working very closely with her. She teaches high school science and has been selected to go to Antarctica as a Teacher Experiencing Antarctica! Imagine having YOUR teacher selected for this adventure! Kim is studying the ocean currents and how they affect the mud and sand on the sea floor. Kim will be collecting water samples and Stephanie Shipp is a student at Rice University. She is studying the sea floor of Ross Sea to look for clues about past glaciers. Much of her time will be spent interpreting the information as we collect it. Understanding how the ice sheet has changed in the past is like a detective story. Her favorite food on the ship is stuffed jalapenos. Stephanie is my other teammate. Julia Smith also is a student of Dr. Anderson's at Rice University. On this trip, she will be studying the glaciers and their history near the Cape Adare are. You may want to look at a map of Antarctica to find the places I mention. Julia is trying to discover how much the ice sheet grew during the last ice age. It is very exciting work! Ashley Lowe is from North Carolina. She has been helping Dr. Anderson with his research for the last several months. Ashley will be a graduate student at Rice in the fall. She will study the glaciers and sea floor around the Antarctic Peninsula. Ashley loves basketball. Tony Rodriguez studies the Texas coast with Dr. Anderson. We are a long way from Texas, but as the ice sheet changes in Antarctica, it causes changes in the ocean level all around the world. Tony studies how the Texas coast line has changed. Michelle Fassell also works with Dr. Anderson as a student. This is her first trip to Antarctica. Michelle likes to travel - this is the farthest that she has traveled yet! She also likes karate! I am hoping that she can teach me! Ian Howat is a student at Hamilton College in New York. This study is part of his senior research. Like the rest of the research team, Ian is looking at how the ice sheet has changed in the past. He is collecting sediment from the sea floor to look at the record left by the big glaciers. Once we are on the ship, we will be on 12 hour"shifts." This means data will be collected around the clock 12 hours per day! I will tell you more about what we do on the boat soon! Please write me ! E. Shackleton BearReturn to E. Shackleton Bear's Page
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