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1 December, 2001

Dec 1st- Cape Byrd

This morning I had my first Real Audio session with my students. It was so much fun! I was a little bit sleepy because it was 7:00am my time. We are a day ahead here, so it is Saturday in Antarctica while it is Friday in the U.S. I really enjoyed all of the wonderful questions from my students at Shoultes and the students from Cedarcrest. I was so happy to hear everyone's voices! Also, I was thrilled to know that my family and friends were listening. That meant so much to me!

After the Real Audio session, I prepared for a helicopter flight to Cape Byrd. Our landing spot was atop a cinder cone. A cinder cone is a cone-shaped hill that is formed when lava piles up around a volcanic vent. As lava comes out of a volcano, the gases within it expand. The lava cools and rocks are formed. Some of these rocks have holes in them! The rocks on this cone were incredible.

After we finished installing our seismic station, I spent a lot of time walking around picking up and looking at the rocks. The various shapes, colors and textures fascinated me. I saw all sorts of igneous rocks- granite, basalt, quartz, pumice etc. There has always been a budding geologist inside me!

Cape Byrd is known for its Adelie penguin rookeries. Rookeries are the nesting grounds for penguins. We landed too high up to be able to see any of these. However, the rocks were the highlight for me. I couldn't stop looking down at the ground!

The minute we stepped off of the plane, we were greeted by 40 - 50 mph winds! There were gusts that were even higher. Our entire time on the ground (five hours) we battled these fierce winds. It was difficult to walk without being blown around. Working on the station was even more difficult.

At one point, Doug and I had to mix Plaster of Paris with water to create cement. Plaster of Paris is powdery. This was not an easy task. I tried to block the wind as best I could while Doug poured in the powder. I had to keep my eyes closed while trying not to breathe, because the dust from the powder was flying up into my face. Somehow we managed it.

Everything took longer today because of the wind. The one good thing was that the temperature was 25 degrees F. The strong winds made the wind chill -15 degrees F, but this wasn't too bad. Had the temperature been a lot lower, we would have frozen!

Doug before boarding the helo

Views from the helo

Our pilot, Greg

The Transantarctic Mountains are in the background

Views from our site

Mt. Erebus with two plumes of steam coming out

The Transantarctics again

Our seismic station

Ice closer up

Here I am, all bundled up!

A view of ice

Doug and Rigo walking

Wonderful rocks!

Doug in the wind

Walking on the moon

Juliette, Rigo and Doug waiting for the helo

At last, the helo!

Goodbye Cape Byrd!

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