18 December, 1998
Hello from Beacon Valley!
Mac Opps Mac Opps This is Sierra 156 Over.
Sierra 156. Mac Opps. Over.
5 in camp and all is well. Over.
Sierra 156, what is your weather? Over.
Mac Opps, We have 30 knot winds and clear. Over.
Sierra 156 we have nothing further for you, do you have anything for me? Over. No, this is 156 clear.
This is what it will sound like every morning when I make comms with Mac Opps.
Well today was a big revelation. We learned what amateurs we are. We had opened some of the rock boxes yesterday and we did not remove the nails from the lids. These lids can blow around and lose those nails, so the nails should be removed and our choice of a lovely big rock can hold the lid in place.
I learned how to carry the shovel and ice axe. You insert the handle of the axe through the handle of the shovel and cross them in front of you. In this way you can have one hand free as you walk. And walk we did. We walked from 9 am until 9:30 pm. We hiked down valley and filled in several pits from last year. So we shoveled and shoveled until they were full again and then we restored the desert pavement on top. It will never look as good as it did, but we tried! We knocked down the cairns that marked their location after we filled them.
We saw several different ash deposits - the black, the yellow. The black is very widespread and common. The black is 8.1 million years old. Dr. Marchant is the ash king- he is good at finding it. He is known for using ash to date these deposits.
For lunch we had cabin bread - a kind of thick unsalted cracker, strawberry jelly, peanut butter, Cadberry's chocolate, granola and hot Raro. Raro is a kiwi version of Kool-Aid.
Dr. Marchant used today to give us an overview of this part of the valley. He discussed the stratigraphy of the different tills in the valleys. The Sessamir till is 14.8 million years old. The Koenig till is 13.8 and the Asgard is 12.
Then we climbed the huge overly steep moraine on the east side of the valley. What a great view. It was worth the climb. We saw some of the "ashtray" concretions in the Beacon sandstone. Amazing - it really does look like ashtrays. This member is more common in Arena Valley, the next valley to the east.
Boy what a strenuous day. I'll sleep great tonight. But first I am going to eat a huge dinner. Tonight we had steaks, potatoes and corn. The guys ate 4-6 steaks each. I am agog at this. I know we will all be eating more. But just how much more?
I have been assigned to work with Drew Lorrey up valley on the rock glacier. Eric Moore and Adam Lewis will be working on critical factors of the buried ice down valley.
One of the things that threw me is that troughs between the polygons are in the meters and not in the inches!! The terrain is quite rugged and rough. The polygons on Mars are an order of magnitude larger, that's why Mike Mellon, a member of G053 is here. G053 is the team from the University of Washington. Mellon models polygons and later Chris McKay from NASA will be joining the other camp in the valley.
That's all for now.
Niles North High School
Skokie, IL 60077
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