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11 December, 2000

FYI answer for 12/10/00

McMurdo is not only the biggest U.S. research station in Antarctica, it is also the biggest city on the continent. It was originally named Naval Air Facility McMurdo. It was renamed McMurdo Station in 1961.

I had a sense of anticipation all day today. I knew that we were going to complete our last census at Turks Head for Katsu's work. He and I took our snowmobiles to Turks Head and, as we conducted the census, Katsu would take pictures of all the animals that he had left with epoxy on their backs from attaching the instruments. The epoxy will be falling off the adult animals as they molt (lose their fur) later this season. I had to cross the ice crack one more time at Turks Head. It had been only three days before that I was there, but the crack looked like it had doubled in width. I used my bamboo pole and pole vaulted across, but I came up a bit short on the way back. It wasn't a full fall this time. I did get a nice boot full of water and wet working pants though. We also found two female adults and one male adult that had died sometime within the last two days. The females were in the water of ice cracks and the male was in a puddle of shallow water near an ice crack. Katsu was able to get close to the first female to get her tag numbers so that she can be recorded as deceased in the data bank. The second female was arched in the ice crack so I sat on the ledge and used my legs to push her upper body down so the tail section came up. The male was in the shallow pool enough that we were able to see the tags.

When we returned to Big Razorback, everyone else was involved in drilling ice holes to measure depths. Katsu wanted a total of twelve holes added onto lines that we had done on those snowy days we had back a week or so ago. Our old fashion rope drop was really fallng apart. We were on a line of drill holes, the depths of which were well over 300 meters. It was taking about 10 minutes to wait for the line to drop and 30 minutes to wrap it back on the spool. Four people were drilling the holes and four of us were measuring. Since this was getting pretty bothersome and taking so much time, we came up with a few options to get the rope up and wrapped faster. Yes, we had four scientists creating right there on the ice at each hole that was getting more and more annoying to measure. Our solution was pretty high-tech. I would grab the rope spool holder and sit on the back of the snowmobile while someone drove it. I hung onto the rope as we drove straight from the hole to the next. I got off and the snowmobile would go back and grab the next section of rope, meanwhile I would start winding it on the spool, but there was no tension. We finally had a 30 to 45 minute process down to 10 minutes. That was high tech science!

At 11 p.m. it was time to go back to work Katsu found the last female that had instruments that we needed to detach. She had been missing for three days. In fact, we drove around Tent and Inexcessable Island looking to see if she had changed locations. We found her right here at Big Razorback. It was a fairly easy task. Katsu and I did it on our own. She was covered in seal poop, however, so it was very smelly and I didn't want to get to messy before going to bed. I definitely found myself thinking about how science has its ups and downs.


The coldest _______________ ever recorded was -128.5 degrees F.

The winds can gust nearly 200 ________ ______ ________on the coast.

The temperature once dropped 65 degrees F in 12____________.

The average continent ________________ is less than 2 inches per year.

The ____________ temperature ever recorded was 59 degrees F.

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