28 November, 1996

November 28th, 1996

Thanksgiving: OUT OF THE TENTS

You can probably guess by the way I wrote that I am very very happy to have good weather. The last three days in the tent were a nice vacation, but I am now very ready to get some work done. After breakfast and radio check in, we split into two groups. Dr. Braaten and Suruj went to dig pits and take snow profiles. Mrs. Bennett and I started taking measurements of snow features.

Dr. Braaten and Suruj dug three snow pits at 5, 8 and 12 meters in front of the microsphere dispersal system. They then carefully cleaned the snow with a knife and pushed cuvettes (square test tubes) into the snow. The effect is taking a high resolution profile of the snow, sampling every cm. These cuvettes are taped together in groups of five, placed in a zip lock bag and stored in a cooler. They also cut two large blocks to put in a cooler as well. This gives them the ability take further samples in McMurdo.

Mrs. Bennett and I accomplished two objectives. We took pictures and described in written terms different types of snow features we saw. We then made specific measurements of the features with a tape measure and digital camera. The camera we used to take profile shots. We will then later analyze the pictures to look at up and down wind angles, etc. All of this was recorded in our lab books. We took 120 pictures today. Normally we would have stopped here for the day. But with the storm we were behind schedule. We were suppose to have actually flown out today, but we decided to wait a day to get our work done. So at 6:00 PM, Mrs. Bennett went to the cook tent to start melting water and cooking dinner. Dr. Braaten, Suruj and I started digging up the microsphere generators so that they can be set up at a new site. We had to dig out the stakes (three per pole with four poles). The equipment was set up last year and was placed deep enough at the time to be stable. We then had a year's worth of snow accumulation to add to that. There was also a pit in which the nitrogen tanks and batteries had been buried. After digging everything up we went to eat dinner. It was 9:00 PM.

At 10:00 we went back to the site. Everything had two be pulled out of the pits. We disconnected all the tubes and wires. Then we tied a rope to the nitrogen tanks one lifted them one by one. Suruj and I would pull and Dr. Braaten would help lift from within the pit. The batteries were also pulled up this way. The box weighted 120lbs. After everything was taken apart we used the banana sled to pull everything back to our camp site. We went back inside to rehydrate and I got to bed at 2:00 am. We had crammed two days of very difficult work into one, but that is common down here.

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