7 January, 1997

>Jan. 8, 8:40 AM  Bull Pass,  Dry Valleys
>Flew into Dry Valleys the night before last at about 8 PM.  One of the most
>amazing sights I have ever seen.  Don't have enough battery power to
>describe it.  When Helicopter set down in Bull Pass, everything around us
>looked like another planet.  Absolutely nothing living could be seen in the
>pass or anywhere else, for that matter.  It is an alien world, with no
>visible aliens.
>Yesterday morning we went up both sides of the pass to survey the area for
>minerals (orthopyroxenes).  The work of Bruce Marsh, Jon Philipp, and Mike
>Zieg really impressed me with their work, but Marsh was especially
>impressive.  To him education is as important as the field work.
>Throughout the day he continually lectured and asked questions.  Frequently
>he would break off a rock and ask what we saw and explain the meaning.  He
>would also look at the landscape to explain what it meant in terms of the
>type of crystals that might be there.  I learned a tremendous amount about
>how igneous rock forms.
>While in the field the science is very serious but the mood is upbeat.
>Because we have to walk great distances and then stay still for a while in
>the cold wind (usually about 0 degrees C) we crack a lot of jokes to take
>our minds off the difficulties.  For example, Mike and Jon are constantly
>manufacturing nicknames, the kindest is Herr Doktor.  Less kind is Scurvy,
>Mucus, and Rigor
>Marsh also explained what he was looking for---things that don't fit
>prevailing theories.  Anytime he or Jon or Mike found something that did
>not seem to belong a debate would start.  This is science at its best.
>The sky is so bright now (the temperature was -15 C a little while ago)
>that I have to work on this lap top under a jacket for cover to see the
>I haven't been cold much except last night when I went out to the bathroom
>and found the bathroom tent had blown over (fortunately the potty contents
>did not dump onto the floor).  I was very lightly dressed so not prepared
>to take the time required to put in stakes and gather rocks to hold it
>down.  By the time I got back to the tent I was quite chilled and shivered
>for a while in the sleeping bag.

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