16 November, 1998

Monday, November 16, 1998

Hi! It's strange, today doesn't seem like a Monday to me. All of the days here sort of blend together…no one seems to know the date, except me (since I'm journaling each day!) It was after 12:30 AM when I finished up on the computer last night. Morning came too soon…and I was at Crary Lab by 9:00 AM. I jumped right into work by labeling 45 samples that were drilled yesterday afternoon and measuring the susceptibility of each sample twice. The only interruption was a short meeting at 10:00 AM when we got our daily drilling update and Chris went over the new core for today's sampling.

The drill is down to 350 meters, and things are going good out at Cape Roberts. The steering committee is back in town today and we have a reception at 5:30 PM at the National Science Foundation Chalet. Our instructions from Peter Webb were "dress informal-and preferably something washed during November." Obviously no one has a super selection of clothing here in McMurdo, and I think we are all a little tired of wearing the same things in rotation. When you ask about the laundry facilities people reply that the name of the detergent is "Harsh" meaning it's tough on your clothes. I'm glad I brought enough choices to last me awhile! I won't have to do laundry very many times.

Seven boxes of core in today…from 251.80 through 280.56. Fabio and I drilled 55 samples this afternoon. The sampling process got a late start, at 3:00 PM, and the drilling took about 3 hours. We were a little late getting over to the National Science Foundation "Chalet"…the reception was in full swing when we arrived. It was VERY different than the usual McMurdo galley dinner. There were delicious appetizers that included grilled shrimp, smoked salmon, and a wide variety of other munchies. It was a welcome change of pace for me.

At the reception I made some valuable connections with several people who had some great ideas as far as contacts in McMurdo. There were a lot of ideas exchanged about future topics for my journal pages while I'm in Antarctica. I also met up with Brenda Joyce, who took care of one of my "geobears" (traveling geography bears) last school year. We got to talking about internet connections, and she is going to share some more sites with me…and then I will share them with you!

The Chalet is a very nice building compared to others in McMurdo. It has a large meeting room (where our reception was held), that can accommodate over 100 people. There is also a spiral staircase that leads to a balcony meeting area. Flags from the countries who originally signed the Antarctic Treaty hang in two rows…one on each side of the room. It's quite colorful! There were maps and photos of Antarctica hanging on the wood paneled walls, and a beautiful bronze piece in the shape of the continent, complete with mountain ranges shown in relief. Outside of the building there is a statue of Admiral Byrd, the first man to fly over the South Pole…on November 29, 1929. There is also a sun dial that is a replica of the bronze piece (shaped like Antarctica) inside the Chalet.

The Antarctic Treaty was originally signed by 12 countries, in 1961. The treaty reserved the area south of 60 degrees south latitude as a zone for peaceful conduct of research. It also prohibits measures of military nature, including fortifications and it prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste. The treaty now has 43 signatories (countries that have signed it).

The success of this year's drilling and the Cape Roberts Project has prompted the steering committee to vote in favor of continuing the project next year. All of the countries will seek additional funding. This was great news for the paleomag team and all other teams incolved with the project. One of many important goals that still remains for this year's project is to continue drilling to over 400 meters…and on as far as they can drill in the time that remains before the ice is unstable. Four hundred meters looks very achievable at this point, since they are currently near 380 meters.

The party lasted until about 8:45 PM and then I walked with Giuliana, Fabio, Leo, and Sonia to the gym to watch volleyball, and later to the new aquarium in Crary Lab. That place is fascinating. Maybe I can get back there this week to talk with the divers! We finally ended up at the dorm, where we watched some TV…some really awful movies. No wonder I haven't watched much TV here. I do know that tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon at 2:00 PM, "Monday Night Football" will air here. Too bad it's in the middle of our work day. In the galley today at lunch, people were watching Sunday football games taking place in the States. I haven't had time to do this yet, but it would be a welcome reminder of home to sit and watch a game of football! :) Talk to you tomorrow!

Betty :)

Fabio is always doing something to joke around. He's demonstrating a new way to wear the gloves for drilling samples! I wear smaller gloves when we do the drillin g, since we use water to cool the drill. I run back and forth from the building, shuttling the samples back and forth from Gary to Fabio.

On a much more serious note, Fabio is speaking with Maria Binca Cita, who is the Italian respresentative on the Cape Roberts steering committee. She is one of our DV's (distinguished visitors) at the moment.

Here are some of the flags hanging in the National Science Foundation "Chalet" in McMurdo. It was really good to see so many colors!

This is the bronze piece I was telling you about in my journal entry. I'd love to have something like that for my classroom!

I really enjoyed seeing this painting of Crary Lab. You can get an idea of how big it is, as well as see the various "wings" of the building. It is built on a hil l, so it slopes downward after you come in the front door. We walk down ramps or stairs to get to the main Cape Robert's wing.

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