2 January, 1999
A gorgeous day in Beacon Valley. Plus 10 and light winds.
Dave, Adam and I go to fill in the pits across from 053, the camp from the University of Washington. They have dug their own pit, everyone is out in it. Jacko has his head in a an Eagle Creek Duffle bag - this shields the screen for their GPR or ground penetrating radar. Marchant, Sugden and Schluchter tried to use GPR in Beacon last year and were not too successful. After lunch I go over and talk to Ron Sletten, Mike Mellon and Jacko Petronen. They are unbelievably friendly and forthcoming about what they are doing. I would like to spend more time getting to know some of them. It seems so convenient that we are all here in Beacon, but I think that the tension is too great.
053 has installed a meteorological station to measure vapor transport to see if they can model what is going on with the ice. Two Russians will be coming over to drill the ice in the hopes of finding old bacteria. They want the ice to be as old as possible naturally. This seems to be one of the biggest "controversies." Is the ice old? Well the overlying ash certainly looks in place in most of the pits. The fabric will tell from which direction the ice came, and the orientation of the clasts that are imbedded also support Dave's idea that the ice is old and that it is glacier ice. The one thing that does not support Marchant's hypothesis is the foliation of the ice - it is parallel to the troughs - this might mean that the ice is secondary ice. I am actually jumping the gun here - Dr. Marchant had left and returned to Boston before we noticed the foliation issue. I wonder how this will play in Boston!
053 lets me know that in the Arctic, polygons form by convection currents. Dr. Marchant has a new idea about how these may form, but he is insisting on keeping secret from us or at least me! One of the things that is interesting to me is that I have learned more about the science here from the University of Washington camp than from the one I am assigned to! And I don't even really know the Washington group either. I do not mind letting everyone know how frustrating this is.
Tomorrow we have our resupply helo and Ron Sletten is supposed to go back to McMurdo - perhaps to meet Bernard Hallet.
Sublimation of the snow occurs before our eyes - truly astonishing. It is just gone! Vaporized.
For dinner we take 4 steaks, 1 pound of shrimp and one can of chicken and make soft tacos and have some frijoles with them too. A great meal!
Adios from Beacon Valley.
Niles North High School
Skokie, IL 60077
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