24 November, 1997
Shackleton 11/24/97 Monday arrived as a beautiful morning with a big blue sky and the sun shining brightly. The radio operator, Kelly Wyatt, however, told us that a big storm was approaching from the north. When you turned and looked in that direction, a huge white/gray cloud covered half the horizon as it moved toward camp. The forecast was not a good one for being outside at all and the storm was a fast moving storm. We needed to get packed out at the site 6 kilometers from the Siple Dome Base and bring the stuff into the base. We hurried out to the site and started to move things inside the Jamesway and packed some on the sled for transporting. By the time we left the Jamesway the storm had actually hit. There was no wind at all. It was really peaceful but you could not see any thing since we were in a huge white cloud. There was no snow either. Just this cloud that covered everything. When you looked up, it looked just like it did when you looked down. There was white everywhere- still no wind or snow but lots of white. Looking away from the Jamesway in any direction you could see nothing. Imagine being inside a ball that is painted all white and no color at all. It is a unique mystical feeling. I liked the fact that there was no wind. We headed back to the base but could see nothing but white around us and one red or green flag along the road in the distance. There is no way of telling what is right in front of you since it is all white and you cannot even see a footprint that you made a minute ago. It is still there but the white color does not allow us to determine things that are not even. We even ended tilted a little on a snow dune by the gas tanks because we could not see it until you hit it. What a difference it is from home. Even white outs in Montana do not last for days and this one planned on staying around for awhile. We made many trips back and forth while we packed and moved things from the site to the base camp. Each time became a trip for Nancy since she still could not see where she was going except for flags. She could not even see ruts in the road or dunes that had drifted with the last storm on Saturday and Sunday. It was nice going to sleep without a wind but difficult to even find the path to your tent. One walks carefully and often slowly so as not to get injured and actually in order to find things. In our base camp, I met and got my picture taken with Dr. Sridhar Anandakrishnan from Pennyslvanian. I just called him Sridhar cause I could at least remember how to say that. He dug a big hole in the ice in several places and put a seismograph inside the hole. A seismograph is an instrument that records movements of the earth. It has a very delicate system in it that allows for things to move in all directions if the ground, or in this case the ice moves. The seismograph is recording what is called waves that travel through the earth from something like an earthquake. This one will send data back to Dr. Anandakrishnan by way of a satellite called ARGOS. Even the data will travel as a wave through the atmosphere. The machine will be powered by solar panels, just like they used on the Pathfinder and Sojouner on Mars. When the sun is not shining they can use wind power since they have small wind mills connected to it too. They also have an area that has bottles of liquid that can store the extra electricity so it can use it at a time where there is no sun or wind. If you have an even greater interest check out anubis@essc/psu.edu. If you would like to see what a wave looks like get a slinky or a rope. Tie the rope to a door knob or have a friend hold the slinky. Move the rope back and forth across the floor and you will see a wave that looks like a snake moving. Water waves look just like this and are also a transitional wave. Now if you hold the rope still and then push it back and forth on the floor, you will get a wave that looks like an accordian moving back and forth. This is called a longitudinal wave. Sound waves that we make when we talk look like this kind of wave. Earthquakes make both these kinds of waves. They call them s and p waves. They travel at different speeds so the seismograph records both waves. If you live in an area that has earthquakes, there is probably seismograph around somewhere that you could visit and have the seismologist (person who works and reads the seismograph) tell you all about it.Return to E. Shackleton Bear's Page
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