15 November, 1997


Saturday dawned with blowing snow, high winds and cold. It was much too cold to work outside besides we could not see the ground well enough to survey . We spent the day crunching data and putting it into the computer to get a graph of the lines that we had surveyed. Sustrugi are not always noticeable but they did show up on the graph. They are much like large sand dunes and are often filled in between with snow. Surveying out side will have to wait for another day.

Since the day was a quiet one; it gave me a chance to reflect on the continent as a whole and the science that is being done here. There is so much to be learned and never enough time or money to do it . I have learned that what we do with our atmosphere usually can be recorded here in the ice. They have a record even of the radiation fallout from the testing of the atomic bombs in our atmosphere from the 1950ís. They have also found traces of volcanic lava in layers of the ice that can be discovered only by drilling ice cores. Most of the science that I have seen deals with the ice cores.

The cores this year to be drilled are small ones of only 20 meters that we will use to find permeability of the ice. They are hoping to drill a larger core later in the season, but as yet the drill has not arrived. I would love to see it in operation. This core will be around one thousand feet long. They have even built a special under ice trench to house the core in so that it will not melt before the scientist will be able to study it. Much of the core may be sent away from the ice to be studied at a later date by scientists.

Permeability allows the scientist to discover at what rate gas is transmitted through the layers of ice. Each layer can have a different rate of flow since some are denser than others. Ones on the top will probably allow gas to go through them more rapidly since they have not had things pushing down on them as yet. The studies that are happening now may someday predict what will happen with our environment in the future.

Saturday night at Siple Dome meant a dance after dinner was planned. Some retired to the recreation hall to watch TV or read, others stayed for the dance or played cards or games in the dining hall. For some in my group, it meant a chocolate party in the Beaker Jamesway as we talked about why we were here and about home.


I haven't had time to work on your questions and labs but I promise that I will have them done before I get home. Maybe sooner if I get a few minutes. Believe it or not but I really do not have much time to do anything. We leave for the work site at 7 each morning, eat lunch at the site and then come in after 6:30 for dinner. With the journals taking up the evenings and then bed of course, I really haven't had much time. Just like you putting off your conclusions - I guess I am guilty too.

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