21 January, 1997

>Below are the first questions I received in the field.  I will post more
>under the Jan. 22 date.
>>From the students of Brenda Kaiser and Kay Tebbens:
>1.Have you seen interesting animals? What are they?
>Yes I have.  In my journals you will see that I have seen three dead seals
>that died anywhere from three to three hundred years ago.  All of the seals
>were found far from the sea.  No one knows why they leave the safety of
>their home.  I have also seen cyanobacteria, some of the only life found in
>the interior of the continent.  I may get to tag some penguins later on
>this week.  I will let you know later.  Of course the strangest animal life
>of all around here are the guys I work with.
> 2. Can you see any dirt? Is it frozen & what does it look like?
>Nice question!  Lots and lots of dirt in the Dry Valleys, especially sand.
>But the dirt here is not soil.  It does not have the decayed plant and
>animal life in it that is needed to grow plants.  I'm afraid that after 18
>days out here without a bath, a good deal of the dirt is on me---but I love
>  3. What do you think the biggest snowfall will be while you are there?
>Less than an inch.  It surprises people to learn that very little snow
>falls in Antarctica, it's actually a desert.  The reason why there is so
>much ice around is because much of it never melts---especially in the
>winter time.  Are you surprised.
> 4. Have you fond any dead people there???
>The only dead person I see around here is my tent mate, Zach.  He dies
>every night about 10 and can only be revived in the mornings by shaking him
>and yelling.  Actually, very few people die in Antarctica, partly because
>so few of us are here but also because we are very careful.  We have to
>check in with McMurdo twice daily.  If we don't, a rescue team is sent out
>immediately.  These teams are so good that hardly anyone ever gets a chance
>to die before they reach them.
> 5. How long did it take you to get there? any adventures?
>I left Delaware on Dec. 27 at 2:30 PM  and arrived in New Zealand on Dec.
>29 at 10:30 AM.  It took another 8 hours to reach McMurdo Base off the
>coast of the Antarctic continent.  The entire flight and every minute I
>have been here has been an adventure.  Check out my journal for specifics.
>6. Does snow pile up or blow away?
>Most of it in the Dry Valleys sublimates.  That means it turns directly
>into water vapor.  That's good for us because we do a lot of rock climbing
>and the snow would make our job more dangerous.
> 7.Are there polar bears there?
>Polar bears are never found in the Antarctic (which means "without bear")
>they can only be found in the Arctic region (Arctic means bear).
> 8. Have you fallen in any water?
>Most of the water here is frozen but there are a few lakes that have so
>much salt in them that they are often liquid.  There is a pond near our
>camp site that is often frozen but I would never walk on it.  The other day
>we walked across  a really big glacial lake to get to our helicopter.
>Although it was liquid around the edges it was solid in the middle, so no
>one fell through.
>9. Have you seen a rock that you really wonder about& will you be able to
>bring home any rocks?
>You bet.  That is our job here, to look for rocks that tell the story of
>how the earth formed---and boy have we found some strange rocks.  If you
>look at my journal you will find some stories about how we search for these
> 10/ Are you getting special musical selections ready for when you take
>teacher groups to Antarctica?
>This question sounds like a plant!  To take teachers to the places where we
>work would cost at least $100,000 per person.  It is very difficult for
>individuals to reach the interior of the continent without the support of
>the National Science Foundation.  As to music, I find opera, classical, and
>Celtic to be great Antarctic music---I also add a little romantic music to
>remind me of home.
>Name:          Laura
>        Grade:         9
> What is it like to be there in the cold and isolated?
>Laura, it's wonderful!  You may have noticed in my journal that I am
>especially excited when I can get away from everyone and feel complete
>isolation.  As to the cold, I seldom notice it.  All of us are so well
>dressed for the cold that we often get very sweaty when working.  Right now
>my bare hands are cold as I type, but the rest of me is very warm.
>Name:          Tom Richardson
>        Grade:         Elementary
>What Make and Model camera are you using to take such great photos?
>They are even better than those I've seen from the Grand Canyon,
>Glacier Nat'l, Park, and Hawaii! Tom & Sandy
>Hey good buddies!  The camera Jon and I are using is a Quick Take---on loan
>from DPI thanks to Tom Brennan.
>Name: Ben Andersen Grade: 9 at Dover High School Comments:  Hi Mr.
>Phillips!  I was just wondering how many layers of clothing it takes to
>stay warm in antarctica?
>Hi, Ben!  we wear three layers, but we have two thicknesses to choose from.
> All of the material is polypropylene---you should never wear cotton when
>you are working in a cold climate.  I like a thin long sleeve undershirt, a
>medium pile fleece jacket, and a thin windbreaker.  This doesn't sound like
>much but when working I sometimes have to strip down to just the undershit.
> We also have three layers of pants, but I only wear two.  None of us wears
>the bunny boots used by most expeditions.  We wear hiking boots instead,
>even though they don't keep you feet as warm.  We have to do this since we
>do so much climbing.
>>From Diana North.  I work with Barbara Tinney at Caravel Academy,
>Delaware.  Our class just began a unit about penguins.  I was wondering if
>you have a few minutes to comment about any penguins you may have seen
>while doing your igneous rock field study.  Barbara mentioned to the kids
>about how you are visiting Antarctica and maybe we could get a first hand
>glimpse into the life of a penguin by asking for your comments.  Any
>information you can send us would be wonderful!!
>Diana, I can't help with the pinguins too much right now, we are working
>too far from the coast.  I can tell you though that ocasionally a penguin
>will wander into the interior and probably die there.  As you can see from
>my journal, many dead seals have been found from any source of food.  No
>one understands this behavior.  Maybe on of your students will solve this
>mystery some day.
>The people studying penguins on the coast are sometimes heard over our
>radio.  They are very fond of the them and seem to know a number of them by
>pet names.  Lately they have been coraling and banding them, sort of a
>penguin round up.  If I can get to McMurdo soon I will volunteer to help.
>In any event we should get to Cape Royds soon where we can see many

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