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7 November, 2002

Sorting through the core boxes

This entry was written by Jim Laatsch. We are sharing the duty of journals for this trip. Our journals are posted in several places including the Bostom Museum of Science's Secrets of the Ice page.

Latitude: 77 degrees 51 minutes South

Longitude: 166 degrees 40 minutes East

Temperature: -12 C / + 10 F

Wind speed: 8-12 knots

Wind Chill: -21 C/ -6 F

Wind direction: Southeast

Meters of ice collected: 0

Notes on daily life: Today was a busy day for the ITASEers. The word of the day was cargo, and there was plenty of it. Betsy picked up where she left off before snow school by unloading and organizing the atmospheric chemistry equipment. For Jim, Dan, and Susan, it was off to Science Cargo to begin a chilly day. After checking in with the extremely helpful folks in charge of cargo the teams containers were located in the cargo yard and the job had begun. The task at hand was to sort through all the tubes used for storing ice cores and then pack them into insulated boxes. No sooner had the trio set to work than snows and billowing winds set upon them. This was a job that could not be rushed though. As with many aspects of science some of the most important parts are the so- called boring tasks that come beforehand. Just like writing up a plan for a chemistry lab, or sterilizing the glassware in a Biology experiment, it was essential that the core boxes were properly sorted and packed. The ice cores that will be collected during the traverse contain some of the most useful information for determining the overall climate patterns that effect Antarctica and the entire Southern Hemisphere. Ice cores are fragile and need to be properly packaged and handled on their epic journey from hundreds of meters deep i the Antarctic ice sheet to carefully equipped stateside laboratories where there secrets can be gleaned. It would be a tragedy to waste the time, money, and effort not to mention the potential trove of intellectual information because adequate care wasn't taken during the first steps. It just goes to show that no matter how advanced scientific analysis becomes it is still always necessary to invest time and attention to all the small details before one can appreciate the success of a completed experiment. The team members worked together and stuck it out in the cold and now our core boxes are stacked, sorted, and waiting to be filled. Tomorrow the rest of the team arrives and then we'll start the final rounds of preparation before we head out next week for the adventure, struggles, and successes that the traverse promises.

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