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25 August, 2001

Onward Through the Arctic Ocean

Today we will complete our 40th dredge along Gakkel Ridge. This has been quite an undertaking considering that the ocean floor is several miles beneath us and the surface is covered with ice. Some days the ice cover is heavy while others it is light. Two nights ago huge icebergs were spotted as tall as the ship. To be here collecting rocks is certainly an adventure.

The Arctic is a unique and beautiful place. The ice can grow in thickness as much as 10 inches in 48 hours, and it may not melt for years. When these pieces of ice smash into each other, lines or walls of ice may be forced up by pressure to form ridges. These can be very thick in places. I haven't become tired of scanning the horizon for such phenomena. The trained eye may even spot interesting sights in the Arctic stemming from the refraction and reflection of light. Yesterday I was called outside to observe a "fogbow". It was like a rainbow except that the colors were faint. It appeared to bend sharply over the ship.

Each morning when I wake up at 5:00am, the first thing that I do is open my porthole and look outside. Although I now know what to expect, I am still amazed at what I see. The beauty is never-ending!

The ice is always interesting to look at. Here ridges are forming from pressure.

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