Friday, June 09, 2006

To Kangerlussuaq, then home

With all my work at Summit and more completed, I flew to Kangerlussuaq 2 days ago. After washing some clothes, getting a shower, and arranging my things for my return this August, I set about trying to do some good around Kangerlussuaq.

The shop at Summit, with Sundogs. Sundogs are atmospheric optics created by ice crystals in the atmosphere.

Here in Kangerlussuaq, today we took a trip out to see the Russel Glacier, one of the outlet glaciers at the edge of the ice sheet. It was a 30 minute drive and then about a 40 minute hike, and the glacier was fantastic.

The Russell Glacier. As we watched, a decent-sized chunk of it fell off and into the river below.

From here, it's back to the states, for some time in Seattle working on my University of Washington research. Then back to Cambridge. Then, in August, I'll be back on the ice for a whirlwind weeks tour of Kangerlussuaq, Raven, and Summit- tune in then!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Medical Preparedness

Today saw the enactment of an emergency medical drill. Our new British guests were apparently cooking in their shelter when the stove malfunctioned and then exploded, leaving them with possible carbon monoxide poisoning and several burns. The medical team swung into action, with several certified Emergency Medical Technicians in camp.

Katie Hess and Pat Smith treat John, who is unconscious and possibly suffering from CO poisioning.

Within an hour or so, the casualties had been treated, decisions made regarding evacuation, and the incident was picked apart to see what things went well and what things could be done better next time. Practice makes perfect!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Search and recovery

On Friday, science technicians Katie and Jeff launched an Ozone Sonde, a balloon which carries an instrument package up through the atmosphere, measuring the amount of ozone, the air temperature, and relative humidity, among other things. The sonde relays its data back to the ground with radio telemetry as it rises up to and through the stratosphere. Eventually, the balloon rises so high that it bursts, and a parachute carries it back to the ground.

Katie had been able to watch the balloon all the way until it burst, and she'd estimated the angle between the balloon and the horizon, so she was able to calculate, using some trigonometry and the altitude the sonde reported as it burst, the distance from Summit where the sonde should have fallen. We also knew which direction to ogo. These sondes are worth several hundred dollars, and it was a beautiful afternoon, so we decided to see if we could find it. To make a long story short, we did!

Katie celebrates her discovery of the ozone sonde, the small box at her feet.

This was something like finding a needle in a haystack, as a light dusting of snow had come in overnight. The balloon was white, and the box was white except for some red duct tape. The parachute was orange, but in the snow it was dificult to see:

The parachute under snow. Katie's eagle eyes saw the sonde box first- nice work Katie!

Mission of Opportunity II

With Liz's arrival, I'm able to use her neutron density probe to measure densities in the same borehole I ran my Borehole Optical Stratigraphy log in yesterday. Since the probe moves very slowly, it was going to be a long day, so I was up at 5 and out to the site by about 7.

Here's the neutron logging setup; the entire system runs off batteries and solar panels, a real boon when you're on a traverse as Liz has been.

The logging went uneventfully, and actually went faster than I'd anticipated, so I had time to measure part of the borehole again.

For lunch, I'd brought some leftovers. With no microwave, of course, I devised something of a solar oven with my snowmobile windshield and black parka:

Soaking up the solar radiation, my lunch was warm in about 1/2 hour- a
nice treat!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Arrival of the British!

Today Liz Morris and John Pailthorpe arrived at Summit after more than 30 days traversing on snowmobiles from close to the West coast of Greenland.

This is actually a picture of Liz arriving at Summit 2 years ago, as they arrived a little earlier than I'd expected and I didn't have my camera...

It's great to see Liz and John, and they're happy to have hot showers, fresh food, and some new company after over a month on traverse!

Liz has also agreed to lend me her Neutron Density probe (see my Svalbard trip for more discussion of how that works), so I'll be doing some logging tomorrow morning, bright and early!

Friday, June 02, 2006

A mission of opportunity!

Short post this evening, because I'm just back from a late-ish night out at a site several kilomaters away. A group here at Summit has been drilling a core and sampling firn gasses for the past week, and today they finished drilling. For me, anytime there's a borehole available, it makes sense to log it, because the more data I have the more things I might be able to do, and it only takes a short time to log a 100m hole. So this evening after dinner I loaded up the sled and went out to the site, and logged the fresh borehole.

The camera descends into the borehole.

It was a nice night, although it felt a bit chilly (it's about -23c as I write this) while standing around as the camera descended. Since we were going in the evening, I invited Sarah, the cook, along to help and see the sights. Cooks rarely get an opportunity to get out of camp or see science in action because they work in the kitchen all day, and Sarah had a great time. Thanks for coming Sarah!