25 January, 1999
Helo Hello again!!
Tonight when we went to Marble point to fuel 31Lima we could see that Marble Point was fueling itself!! The lines from the tanker ran up to the huge tanks of the facility. All together these tanks can hold about 3 million gallons and they were adding 1.3 million gallons of fuel today. This process requires about 24 hours all together. That 1.3 million gallons is approximately a two year supply. But in antarctica one should never take for granted that the tanker will be able to come in once a year!!
Unfortuneatly, they began to fuel the tank that Mark, our fuelie, was working from. This meant that the fuel had to be checked before we could use it. This is because the first fuel out often has either dirt or water in it - both bad for engines and this would be very bad in a helicopter. So fueling took longer than usual. We had a chance to walk on the glacier, talk to some of the fine folks at Marble point and wow! weren't we lucky!! It was Cookie Night!! Chocolate chips.
While we fuel, we get out of the aircraft. I got out because everyone else did. It turns out it is PHI policy for no passengers to be aboard during fueling. Dr. Sugden thought that it was to stretch our legs!! This was illustrated by the fact that tonight he ran a slalom through the empty barrels at Marble Point. He is tall and his legs especially like to run.
We flew up the Taylor Glacier and approached Arena and Beacon Valley from behind. It was thrilling for me to see the back of where I had been. I had spent so much time looking up there wondering what it looked like that it was marvelous. I could pick out the landmarks without looking at the map: Monastery Nunatak, Mt. Crean (Named for one of the most amazing of the early explorers. Crean seemed to always be where the action was - twice with Scott and with Shackleton on the Endurance saga, including the trip to South Georgia!). We flew over Mt. Feather repeatedly - there were good features there for Denton and Sugden to observe, especially under the Sirius Deposit.
We flew over Beacon and I hope my shots of the polygons show just how amazing these are. We flew over the remains of the camp I had been in - three Scott tents and scarsin the desert pavement from the walk to the cook tent. I often wondered on the ground how long my footprints would be there. From the air I was sure that it would be millions of years. On night in Victoria Valley we found footprints and tried to determine if they were from this season (all tall men had been wworking there) or if the prints belonged to Meredith Kelly, a student of Deton's who worked there last year. When we paced them out we realized that they must be Meredith's.
We landed in Arena Valley. Every single one of these valleys is unique. This next door neighbor of Beacon Valley was light in color, just golden and stripped down to the bedrock. This sandstone was also rippled. Is this more evidence for their argument? We also noted that some of the sandstone was quartzified which happens in warmer and wetter conditions than happen today.
We hiked for awhile, but it was quite windy and cold (-20 degrees C) - not different from Beacon - so we left sooner than any of us really wanted to because of it.
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