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.

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 


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 
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 
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.

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