Sunday, May 28, 2006

Another pit!

Most of yesterday was spent working on making improvements to my borehole logging system, not a very photogenic activity. Today, however, I helped Lora dig another pit. We drove about 7 km from camp, to the center of a satellite pixel (she's doing a satellite validation study), and dug a _big_ pit. I estimated from the volume of the put and the density of the snow that we moved about 1000 kg of snow out of, and then back into, the pit. Sore back muscles!

One of the things we did was measure the snow density. To do this, we have a special 'density cutter' that I push into the wall of the snowpit:

putting the cutter into the wall. You can see the square-shaped holes left where I've already taken samples.

We know the volume of the cutter, so all we need to do, since density is mass per unit volume, is weigh the sample of snow we just cut out:

Weighing a snow density sample.

Once we've done that down the full depth of the pit, we have a density profile! This is useful for a wide range of applications, since the properties of snow (for example the thermal properties we were also measuring) frequently depend on the snow density.

Tomorrow will probably be another day of upgrading the borheole logging system, but maybe I'll get some photographs in- we'll see!


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