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12 December, 2000

Odds and Ends

The temperature logging wrapped up a few days ago so most of out time has been spent dismantling equipment and packing up for departure. The pace of work has tapered off and it seems strange to be here without any science objectives to accomplish. We are scheduled to take a Herc back to McMurdo Station late this afternoon.

The weather for the last week has been exceptional! Sunny skies and light winds has been the rule. Gary and Bob tell me that the weather last season was much more variable with wind storms every few days.

I have been doing a fair amount of cross-country skiing, parcticularly in the evening. The snow is wonderful. My only regret is the lack of hills. There is a berm at the drill site with a short slope where I can do a couple turns. Getting out from camp on skis is a special experience. Everything is still and the snow sparkles like a million diamonds.

The surface snow has changed character over the last week. With no new snow and little wind, surface hoar has accumulated. Every day the surface crystals have been growing. In some places they are aligned giving the snow the texture of brushed corduroy.

Large feathery hoar crystals have been growing for several days. After a week, some are more than five centimeters (2in) across.

A midnight ski over glistening snow.

Whenever you dig a deep hole in the snow you see this beautiful blue light inside. Snow absorbs most wavelength of light. The blue light, however, is scattered as it penetrates the snow.

This tunnel near the main drill site is what remains of the science trench. It was used for processing and storing the ice core that was recovered from the main borehole. The trench is to be dismantled by the end of the season.

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