25 November, 1997
Sam, There are two here, mine and Shackleton's. If you catch any spelling mistakes in any of it PLEASE, PLEASE correct it. Thanks, Sandy Shackleton 11/25/97 We are waiting for the plane to come and get us and take us back to Mactown meaning McMurdo. Since the plane is not coming in early, we visited the Jamesway next door to the galley. A group called SOAR is staying there and doing their thing in the hut and in an airplane. They have a special plane called a twin Ottor that will fly filled with neat gadgets and things. The SOAR (Support Office of Aerogeopysical Research) group is from the University of Texas in Austin. They are fixing the plane up with an ice penetrating radar, a magnetometer, a gravatometer, and a LASER altimeter. They fly the plane over a grid (rectangular type area) or over a special line that the scientist need. The plane then uses the gadget to find the ground under the ice and map it (Radar). It finds the magnetic field's direction and strength (magnetometer); it finds the pull of gravity on things (gravatometer) at that spot and now they are testing the LASER on the area too. The LASER will shot down to the ground and be reflected back up to the plane. From the time it takes to go down and back from the plane they can see how far away the ground is by using mathematics. The LASER light will be reflected off the snow and ice. If they fly over the same area after a storm or at a later date they can actually calculate from mathematices the difference in the snow level. They have a lots of computers, both on the ground and in the plane, to use on their surveys of the land. They can fly great distances and take all the readings and then put it together to make a better guess of the land under all the ice. People that make up the SOAR team that I met were: Ryan Biggs -Physics and Astronomy major Dr. Matthew Peters - Electrical engineering Sam Magsino - Geology John Geboc - Physics and Computer Science Mark Tepper - Mechanical Engineering Dr. Mark Maybee - Computer Science Ken Griffiths - Electrical engineering Jeff Williams - Geophysics These people do magic with their little black boxes to help scientists understand what Antarctica is like under the ice and how it affects the earth in general. These people can be found at the University of Texas at Austin. If you would like to know more about SOAR check out www.ig.utexas.edu/SOAR SHUTEY 11/25/97 Tuesday starts out as a quite day, no wind, no snow blowing, no sun and no visiblity as yet. We still can't see any definition in the snow. It is strange to have to find a flag to drive by or even to find the path to walk on from the tents to the camp itself. The plane is not coming to get us until tonight so we have a whole day to wait. The 35 foot drill rig cannot be seen so you know that the road to the site is going to be one flag at a time if you needed to go there. I spent most ofthe day talking to the people with the SOAR group. They are group of engineers, geophysists,and computor scientist for the most part using black boxes to discover Antarctica. The people with SOAR are using an airplane to probe the surface features, to find the acceleration of gravity here, and find the magnetic field around the continent. They have an ice penetrating radar that is mapping the surface beneath the ice dome and other fields around this area. They hope to map some of the South Pole area this summer for one of their projects. At one time, they mapped what is thought to be a volcano under the ice field. This, according to SOAR and the PI for that project, may be a reason for the ice streams mentioned in other journals to be moving as fast as they are. SOAR, also, checks on the magnetism of the area by using the magnetometer. The magnetometer looks like a missile, it even has fins, and it is pulled behind the plane. It could easily be mistaken as a bomb if you did not know what it was. I wonder if they had problems getting it through customs? They can actually tell a little bit about the rock type under the surface by some of these readings. They are finding the direction of the force field and its reaction to the sunspots and solar flares. Seems that I have heard here at McMurdo that there have been quit a few sunspots and flares this week. At least, that is the explaination for goofedup radio signels and such. There is however a theory out there saying the number of sunspots affect the weather. Antarctica's weather is not what it was like last year, at least that is what everyone keeps saying. They say the magnetic field in this area has lines that are almost straight up. We use the geographical South Pole as the point on our maps where the field lines should go in but they actually end at the magnetic south pole. Believe it or not the magnetic south pole is actually out in the water and not on the continent at all. I'm not sure how fast it is moving but I do know that the South Pole moves about 34 feet a year. They say you can see the ole poles in the ground when the new pole is repositioned yearly. It is suppose to be a line of poles showing the movement of the South Pole. I assume that this is actually the movement of the ice cap and not the land underneath. The gravatometer is used to check the acceleration of gravity (how fast something will accelerate as it falls). The acceleration rate usually given is like 32 ft/sec in English and 9.1 m/sec according to our physics books. However, these are just an average at sealevel. The g (acceleration of gravity) changes with rock types and altitudes. Around Siple Dome the g is over 9.2 m/sec. (To my class, I apologize I had the exact g and lost it. I will keep trying to find it before I get home.) All of the above measurements help determine the structures under the ice and also the thickness of the ice. Rock types can be guessed at more accurately when geophysics know more about the magnetism and gravity. The LASER altimeter sends a laser beam down to the top of the snow and it is reflected back. The angle of reflection is almost 90 degrees. The time it takes is recorded and the distance between the plane and the ground is found. The planes altitude is already known. If you do this over again the next day or year you will be able to find the change in the elevation of the ice. They assume it is the ice that has changed so you can get a more accurate picture of snow increases or decreases in an ice field depending on the season and the weather. The people at SOAR that were more than helpful are: Ryan Biggs, Dr. Matthew Peters, Sam Magsino, John Geboc, Jeff Williams, Mark Tepper, Dr. Mark Maybee, ad Ken Griffiths. Their web site can be found at www.ig.utexas.edu/soar " There are two types of fishermen," Roddy told his nephew as he cast his line. "Those who fish for sport, and those who catch something." For yesterday, when I forgot to put one one. Q. What's cold, white, and holds its side when it runs? A. Frosty with a hernia.Return to E. Shackleton Bear's Page
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