13 November, 1997


Morning dawns on Siple Dome sometime in February. The sun is very bright early in the morning and late at night here. This morning , however, the morning started off with ground fog that did not burn off until 7 P.M. The day was cold along with the fog. Temperatures at Siple Dome were around -18 degrees Celsius or -2 degrees Fahrenheit. It probably did not get to zero today as it stayed cold and foggy. The temperatures at the South Pole were running around -37 degrees Celsius so I felt fortunate to be at Siple. Since we must wear so many layers of clothing and the clothing are designed for this weather, you really donít feel it unless you get wet or are just standing around.

The standard issue for clothing is long underwear (not cotton), fleece pants and a fleece jacket, wind pants that seem to be expanding daily, a red wind jacket, and a very heavy red parka with a hood. They also give you about 5 pairs of gloves, several pairs of mittens, and glove liners. Snowmobile gloves are also included. They always have wool socks that are a necessity. We all look like giant red snowmen. Most of the time if the wind is blowing, you can not see anyoneís face so you never know who is about. The major thing that everyone here must wear is special 100% IR/UV protection glasses at all times outside. The snow reflects so much light that they say with the all day sun and the snow glare that one can go snow blind in about 5 minutes. Many times the sight does not come back at all once the retina is burned. Even in many places in the US it is advisable to have very good eye protection since the radiation is starting to become more and more intense. Here at Siple Dome, we are on the fringe of the ozone hole so it is important to not only protect your eyes but also your skin. Now would be a good time for you to check on the ozone layer problem and how it will affect you.

Drs. Chris Shuman and Xin Chen , who work at NASAís Goddard Space Flight Center, are studying ice streams that flow around Siple Dome. An ice stream is just like a water stream only in ice. The ice streams are named A, B, C, D, E, and F. They are flowing around the Dome toward the Ross Ice Shield from a source that is higher than the rest of the region. Ice Stream C is no longer moving and they think it is because Stream B captured the liquid that C had to move on. This would be like a captured stream on regular land. Chris and Xin are studying Ice Stream D. They plan on placing flags on the stream and using the Global Positioning System (GPS) they will have the exact location of the flags this year. Stream D is moving over 400 meters per year in the middle and between 1 and 10 meters on the sides. Stream B moves over 800 meters per year while the others are moving over 100 . Next year they will return to Ice Stream D and re-survey the flags to find exactly how far they have moved in a year. If you are interested in how glaciers move, you may wish to check out a book on glaciers and discover why they move. If you would like to read more about Chris and Xinís work check out: http://igloo.gsfc.nasa.gov/~shuman/home/html.

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