25 December, 2002
Latitude: 86° 30’ 08.99” S
Longitude: 107° 59’ 24.64” W
Time of Observations: 11:00 PM local time
Temperature: -26 C / -15 F
Wind speed: 8 knots
Wind Chill: -37 C/ -34 F
Wind direction: Westerly
Meters of ice collected: 464 m
By Betsy Youngman
Music, warm food and Christmas greetings began our day. Sparkling snow, calm winds and blue skies gave the day a joyful feel. We all walked to our respective work areas with a little extra bounce in our steps. Around camp Christmas spirits were high. Betsy created a forest of snow block pine trees around the atmosphere shelter and we took turns making phone calls to loved ones back home during our breaks. In the kitchen, Andrea outdid herself once again, preparing a feast for our Christmas dinner. The newly repaired inverter (thanks to Lynn and Carl) provided the electricity for our string of Christmas lights and music. Susan found gifts and stockings for us all and hung them around the kitchen.
This was another workday for the ITASE team. We are concentrating on being efficient at each site since we are trying to make up for lost time earlier in the season when we were stuck in deep snow. Each time we arrive at a site we work around the clock on experiments and camp chores like melting snow for water, repairing any broken equipment and preparing for travel. So, although it was a holiday for most of the world today, we kept busy working on their projects. The drilling team had another successful day of ice core collection, 50 meters of 3-inch core and 25 meters of 2-inch core in all. Brian spent the day traversing the region looking at the deep ice layers and bedrock. Blue and Gordon worked about one kilometer away from camp at what they call the “coffee can” (mass balance) site. The light winds allowed for the opportunity to fly three ozone detection (balloon) flights. Markus collected seven meters of 2-inch core in the morning which was melted and analyzed just before dinner. Jim collected core for analysis with Mary Albert’s permeameter. Overall, this was one of our most productive days of science this season.
At around seven p.m. our workday ended and our celebration began. We gathered in our kitchen shelter, to share a delicious meal of stuffed chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pies. After our meal we opened our gifts from one another, small soaps, freshly made fudge, jacket zipper pulls, and clean new socks (!) were welcome surprises for a team that has been in the field now for over a month. We also enjoyed some fun with a few new toys and games that were in our Christmas bounty. It was the first time the team has relaxed and enjoyed an evening all together since our departure from Byrd Station. It was wonderful to feel the camaraderie and good cheer.
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