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6 August, 2001

A 48 hour snow collecting marathon, and other bits and pieces

We are having a period of warm, clear and sunny weather. It has been nice now for 2 straight days. This is the first time this has happened all summer. Coupled with the fact that "science" ends in 5 days, the nice weather has generated a frenzy of science projects, most of which take place 24 hours a day. At all hours you can find scientists walking about in the snow or at their stations taking measurements. Noone has had a full nights sleep in a few days. I myself am hoping for a storm to happen soon so we can all retreat to our tents and computers and rest a bit!

Markus and I are taking snow samples every three hours. This will allow him to compare his continuous air measurements with the chemical releases and changes of the snow. We have worked out a schedule so that we both can get some sleep. He measures the 12 midnight sample since he likes to stay up late. Since, I am doing the 3 am I get to bed early. He also takes the 6 am shift... I do the rest of the day. The total is 90 bottles of snow per day to be collected and analyzed. Needless to say, I am keeping very busy!!

Now for a few updates on some old news....

The sun has gone below the horizon for the first time since spring

This doesn't mean it is getting dark, but we are having twilight now. Last night at 3 am it was twilight. It was very pretty to see the camp in the setting sun.

The ice core drill is still stuck!!

At 27 feet, or 9 meters, down in the snow, the ice core drill has been frozen in the ice since Saturday. Eric and Meredith were drilling with the assistance of an electric motor. The drill filled with ice chips and the friction caused it to melt and freeze in. The snow at that level is very cold. For the past two days they have been heating the drill with 200 degree (F) air. They have yet to free the drill bit. They are now thinking of new ways to rescue this drill.

For the full ice core story drilling for ice core

The sublimation experiment is working!!

The petri dishes have gained and lost mass each night and day. Today was parcticularly sunny and warm, the dishes lost almost 3 grams due to sublimation of the snow back into the atmosphere. With the increase in winds we should see even more sublimation. For the introduction to this story see... parallel experiments

Here I am looking down the hole where the drill is still stuck. Markus called it the "giant ice lollipop" because the shaft is 27 feet long, and it has a giant glob of ice stuck to it. I was afraid of falling in the hole! I have my skiis on and had visions of dangling upside down by my skiis.

Dragging the sled of samples back to camp to be analysed, after digging the snow pit.

Schott bottles waiting to be refilled for another round in the snow marathon.

this picture is the sled, the one above is sampling in the sunny afternoon.

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