2 December, 2001
Today we arrived at the Lower Erebus Hut. An unmistakable feeling of increased elevation was immediate. We set up our individual tents (everyone sleeps outside) and there was much huffing and puffing. We were preceded to the hut by Philip Kyle, Bill McIntosh, and Rich Esser. They have been here for two days, and are in full swing. As I said before, the science being done here is within a maze of wires, cables, electronic devices, and batteries. I am the first to admit that this is not my forte. I do understand why it's important to set up GPS devices, microphones, and seismometers, but the actual construction of the machinery is quite impressive.
I scored my own first personal collection success today. Bill called a few of us over and pointed at the snow. There were little whisks of...something. Some of them were almost three inches long, but some were sort of "webby." He told us that they were "Pele's Hair." Apparently, during an eruption (there was one this morning, before we got there) tiny strands of glass are spun out of the lava and convected up into the air. It's not unlike making cotton candy. These glassy strands break almost immediately when handled. I carefully collected about thirty samples and fixed them to microscope slides with the chemical that I brought for preserving snow crystals. It worked perfectly, and the strands are beautiful under the microscope. I'm told that the ash we find on the snow can also be quite glassy, so I'll collect some of that too.
Today, although we did do some work, was still considered another acclimatization day.
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