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5 December, 1999

Another aspect of the science on Mt Erebus is the analysis of the gas plume. Jean Wardell, graduate student at New Mexico Tech, is working on her PhD in Geochemistry and is here to set up acid traps along the crater rim for analysis of trace minerals from the gas plume. Specifically she is looking for the metals such as magnesium, lead, arsenic, and selenium.

The system she is using is simple and easy to transport and the hope is her results will be similar to the pump system of Jessie Crain who has set up her project next to Jeanís. The pump system requires a gas generator, pumps and hoses, is heavy to haul and not reasonable to set up on volcanoes that are dangerous to get close to. Jeanís traps are set up and can be left out for several days, then collected and analyzed. If the data correlates with the pump system then Jeanís procedure can be used in the future for volcano study.

1. The plume from the volcano. It holds the gases Jean is trying to analyses. ( Photo by Bjorn Johns)

2. Here Jean is setting out her traps next to Jessieís pumps. The hope is the data between the two systems will correlate.

3. One of Jeanís stations. There are four of them along the rim. We set them on posts and then steadied the posts with rocks and left them there.

4. The station set up. The hope is the gases from the plume will blow into the container. Everything depends on the wind.

Jean leans over the crater rim to collect gases in a hand held analyzer, one more way to correlate the data from different systems. Notice the ice towers in the background. These are produced by the vents in the crater rim producing steam and other gases.

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