Flight Delayed — Humboldt State Reunion

Our bags are packed and checked, but weather at Yesterday Camp canceled our flight today. Hopefully we’ll be flying to camp tomorrow. We’re living out of our carry-ons, hopefully not too much longer, anticipating flying tomorrow…

There is no internet access from Yesterday Camp, so this may be the last post until we return after the installations are completed, hopefully in the first week of December.

While here, fellow Humboldt State grads from the mid-1980’s had a reunion at McMurdo — a long way in time and space from the days in Arcata, CA — an unexpected location to meet up again.

Humboldt Reunion.

 Flags of nations having a presence in Antarctica in front of the National Science Foundation chalet, with Hut Hill in the background. From left: Dean Childs, Peter Bromirski, Tim Parker. Dean and Tim are PASSCAL seismic instrumentation experts.

Flags of nations having a presence in Antarctica in front of the National Science Foundation chalet. Observation (“Ob”) Hill is in the background. From left: Dean Childs, Peter Bromirski, Tim Parker. Dean and Tim are PASSCAL seismic instrumentation experts.

Ice Camp Established

Our camp on the Ross Ice Shelf was put in today. We’ll be deploying to the camp in two days. A lot of prep work to get everything moved from McMurdo to Yesterday Camp (just east of the dateline near 79deg S) has been done today. We’re nearly ready to go, hoping that the weather holds and the LC-130 transport doesn’t have any mechanical problems. It’s been warm — in the teens. Small streams of melt water are running down the roads.

Because the sun never sets in the summer in Antarctica, a sundial works 24 hours a day.

The 24-hour sundial at McMurdo station (viewed from above).
The 24-hour sundial at McMurdo station (viewed from above). As you can see, it’s 1PM local McMurdo time.

HAM’ing It UP.

Ron Flick with his thumb on the pulse of McMurdo, talking to the world.
Ron Flick with his thumb on the pulse of McMurdo, talking to the world.

First Project Seismometer On the Ice (DR16)

The installation of a seismic station on the ice takes a team effort, including help from the KBA Twin Otter pilots. Our seismic stations differ from the Wiens/Aster project installed yesterday in that they also contain barometers to measure the displacement due to atmospheric pressure changes. DR16 is our station that is farthest south, away from the ice front (see map in Taking the Pulse).

Getting Started.

Loading our gear and the seismic station onto the Twin Otter at Willy Field, with Mt. Erebus in the background.
Loading our gear and the seismic station onto the Twin Otter at Willy Field, with Mt. Erebus in the background.

In the Air.

Inside the Twin Otter cabin -- room for four and the seismic station components that will be assembled and tested on the ice.
Inside the Twin Otter cabin — room for four and the seismic station components that will be assembled and tested on the ice.

In Route.

Reflection of the sun off the Ross Ice Shelf.
Reflection of the sun off the Ross Ice Shelf.

The seismometer and support electronics package are buried in separate holes separated by about 30ft.

Support Electronics Installation.

Installation of the box containing power, data storage, GPS, and telecommunications electronics.
Installation of the box containing power, data storage, GPS, and telecommunications electronics.

Seismometer Installation.

The seismometer is buried after leveling and aligning with true North and testing in in the bottom of a 40in deep, 5ft square excavation.
The seismometer is buried after leveling and aligning with true North and testing in in the bottom of a 40in deep, 5ft square excavation.

There is lots of activity and cooperation during installation.
Remember, today is tomorrow for those east of the dateline, e.g. in the U.S.

Panoramic video of DR16 seismometer installation, showing what the Ross Ice Shelf icescape looks like.
DR16_Installation_11Nov2014

Some majestic views of Antarctica on the way back to McMurdo.

The Royal Society Range.
IMG_1125

Mount Discovery: A Dormant Volcano
IMG_1134

IMG_1137

Another view of the Royal Society Range.
IMG_1135

A Crevasse Near McMurdo.
IMG_1139

Our transport plane, Twin Otters, lands on skis in very short landing and take-off skiways.

Twin Otter Airplane Shadow on the Ice During Landing.
Note the ski shadows at the nose and under wing.
IMG_1142

Cheese Shop – Globe Trotting Frisbee!

The Cheese Shop Frisbee travels the world – Here it is making an appearance at McMurdo for 10 days only! Next stop on the 2014 Antarctica Tour is the Ross Ice Shelf for a three-week special engagement at Yesterday Camp.

P1020095a

We’re grateful to John, son Phil, and grandson John for over four decades of tasty sandwiches and other treats served in La Jolla Shores! Wish you were here!

Sensors in the Hole!

Got the first two seismic stations installed today! Only 32 more to go!

Dr. Flick waiting at the shuttle stop with the team for transport to Willy Field. ‘Nuff said…

P1020114a

 

Team waiting in the Willy Field First Class transit lounge for cargo manifest problems to be resolved.

P1020117a

 

Baggage and cargo handling is done with snow-machine.

P1020126a

 

Cargo and crew cozy aboard Twin Otter enroute to Station RIS 02.

P1020130a

 

Garage Sale on the ice unloading the Twin Otter!

P1020138a

 

Dr. Flick secures wiring at bottom of solar panel “lampshade” array that will power the station through the summer months.

P1020142a

 

Doug carefully arranges and levels the seismic sensor in the bottom of the instrument well dug about 6 feet deep in the snow of the Ross Ice Shelf.

P1020146a

 

Sensor RIS02 in the hole! Conduit has wires that connect sensor to instrument case.

P1020150a

 

Instrument case with batteries and data recorder in a separate 4 ft by 6 ft hole in the snow. This will record 100 samples per second on three channels for over a year!

P1020163a

 

All done, crew is back on the Twin Otter and the station is buried with only flagpoles and solar lampshade showing. See you next year!

P1020165a

 

 

McMurdo is Warm!!

Official temperature at MacTown is 14 degrees F today with one of the thermometers at Derelict Junction shuttle stop reading about 28 degrees this morning! It’s warm here, so come on down!

Come_To_McMurdo

Shake Down Camp Out

We were transported out to the snow camping area near Williams (Willy’s) Field, an ice runway.

The Crew.

Waiting for transport to snow camp.
Waiting for transport to snow camp.

Heading to Snow Camp.

A view of the terrain from our transport on the roadway to snow camp.
A view of the terrain from our transport on the roadway to snow camp.

The “field” training consisted of building a wall out of sawed snow blocks to shield out tents from the wind and each setting up our tents.

The Wind Shield.

The wall is intended to shield our tents from strong winds, which are common.
The wall is intended to shield out tents from strong winds, which are common.

Fortunately, we had great weather: sunny, low winds, and relatively warm near the teens.

Ralph Stephen and Mt. Erebus.

At snow camp. Ralph Stephen from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (one of our team) with Mt. Erebus in the background. Mt. Erebus is an active volcano, and you can see a plume of water vapor/gasses coming out of the top.
At snow camp. Ralph Stephen from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (one of our team) with Mt. Erebus in the background. Mt. Erebus is an active volcano, and you can see a plume of water vapor/gasses coming out of the top.

All of our crew are newbies, so we’re learning a lot.

Oceanographer Ron Flick Braving the Elements.

Kneeling in the "vestibule".
Kneeling in the “vestibule”.

Always something new …

Castle Rock.

One of the interesting rock formations seen from snow camp.
One of the interesting rock formations seen from snow camp.

Castle Rock

And the training continues.

Yesterday we were on survival camp out on the McMurdo Ice Shelf.

We were transported out to our camping site on the ice shelf. Not as busy as a standard California camping site and about 70F colder!

2014-11-08 09.12.19

Learning how to make snow bricks
Learning how to make snow bricks
In case a storm  surprises  us, we are suppose to just build our own grave, step into it and all will be nice the next day. The two block to the left you actually pull over your head when you lie in the grave.
In case a storm surprises us, we are suppose to just build our own grave, step into it and all will be nice the next day. The two block to the left you actually pull over your head when you lie in the grave.
Our tents are setup. We sleep one in each tent with a few pads and good sleeping bag. The wall in background are suppose to protect for the wind which can be strong.
Our tents are setup. We sleep one in each tent with a few pads and good sleeping bag. The wall in background are suppose to protect for the wind which can be strong.

Trail running on Ross Island, 14 degrees F and zero wind! McMurdo Station/Sound and the Royal Society Range in the background.
IMG_6749