All posts by adiez

A day at the office

We were  backup on the Basler today and didn’t fly.

We are backup on MKB, the Basler air plane.
We are backup on MKB, the Basler air plane.

Ever wondered what we do when we don’t fly?

Well, we get up between 5:30 and 6:00. Go and have breakfast to be ready to receive news between 6:45 and 7:00. That’s when they tell us we are staying:

We are not flying! - Ahhhh
We are not flying! – Ahhhh

So we have to find some other tasks around the office and there is always something to do!

Lot's of work
Lot’s of work

As non native speaker Zhao and Anja get the chance to learn many colorful englisch sayings:

Hurry up and wait!

When in trouble when in doubt run in circles scream and shout!

You don’t ever know ‘cuz you never can tell!

Can’t get there from here!

By then it’s time for lunch.

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Meal time comes around more quickly than we’d like sometimes.

After lunch we  check the news and brows the internet. Lots of patience is needed for this task:

Sitting in front of a white screen!
Sitting in front of a white screen!

Or we walk over to the library and read books about the first Antarctic explorers like Scott, Shakelton and Amundsen.

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The Library is small but has a nice collection with plenty of comfortable couches and nooks to sit and read.

Such a long day. It’s almost time for dinner and to go back to sleep!

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Seems as though our lives here revolve around eating.

Cross your fingers, that we can fly to Yesterday Camp tomorrow morning.

 

Flight stations serviced

We have a map in our office with all the stations that we have to service.

Station map, already serviced stations are marked yellow.
Station map, already serviced stations are marked yellow.

The weather within the last few days was quite good. So we had the chance to reach some more of our stations by plane. This leaves our group with seven more stations. These stations are close together, within a 20 km radius. On Friday we will go out to a camp they are putting in for us right now and service the last stations from the camp by snowmobile.

Three of the stations we reached last week are about 2 km away from the ice shelf front, offering spectacular views flying there.

ce shelf front near station DR02
Ice shelf front near station DR02
Flying over the ice shelf front
Flying over the ice shelf front
Servicing station DR02
Servicing station DR02
Setting up a GPS station north of the seismic station
Setting up a GPS station north of the seismic station
Nascent iceberg, not yet a real iceberg.
Nascent iceberg, not yet a real iceberg.
Rob prepares the landing close to the ice shelf front.
Rob prepares the landing close to the ice shelf front.

A portion of the largest rift on the Ross Ice Shelf seen from the Twin Otter while flying back to McMurdo after servicing station DR15, about 200 km from the shelf front. The rift, a through-going fracture thought to penetrate the entire shelf to the water below, extends for over 100 km roughly parallel to the shelf front, and is over 1 km wide at its widest.

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Rift on the Ross Ice Shelf

Returning to McMurdo after servicing seismic station DR15, we flew over and along the largest rift on the Ross Ice Shelf. The width of the rift increases towards the center of its length, suggesting the width is increasing there. GPS stations were installed at several stations perpendicular to the shelf front to see if we can detect differential episodic motions across the rifts.

 

Transantarctic Mountains
Transantarctic Mountains

We had great views of the Transantarctic Mountains on our way to station DR16.

Luckily no one got sick on the plane so far!

Sickness Bag
Sickness Bag

McMurdo Recreation

Reading this blog you might have recognized that we have a lot of time because we can’t fly due to the current weather conditions. However, we collected some of the data loggers by now and started to analyze the data. Nevertheless, there is some time for recreation with lots of opportunities around McMurdo!

McMurdo activities
McMurdo activities

The big board on the way to the mess room announces the highlights of the day, fitness classes, movies, talks. A craft room is open for everyone that wants to be creative and it’s possible to rent cross country skies and climbing shoes at the gear room.

Ob tube: A hole drilled through the sea ice. It’s not much more, but it’s possible to climb down the tube installed there and observe life and light under the sea ice.

On the way down the tube
On the way down the tube
Sea ice from below, with fish
Sea ice from below, with fish

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The way back up!
The way back up!

Hiking Ob Hill: Observation Hill is McMurdo’s local mountain. A nice hike with a great view towards the ice shelf, sea ice, and McMurdo station.

McMurdo station from Ob Hill
McMurdo station from Ob Hill
At the top of Ob Hill
At the top of Ob Hill

Hiking around Scott’s Hut: Close to McMurdo is Scott’s Hut. Robert F. Scott build this hut in 1911 on his expedition to reach the south pole. On his way back he and his crew died. The cross at Ob Hill was erected in memory of Scott. Scott’s Hut is still standing.

Scott's Hut
Scott’s Hut
Scott's Hut and McMurdo
Scott’s Hut and McMurdo
Mummified Seal in front of Scott's Hut
Mummified Seal in front of Scott’s Hut

Cross country skiing: During our shakedown we had some time to try cross country skiing.

Cross country skies ready to go.
Cross country skies ready to go.
Zhao testing the skies.
Zhao testing the skies.
Anja tries to explain cross country skiing.
Anja tries to explain cross country skiing.

Hula hoop: Time to learn something new – why not hula hoop?! We build hula hoops and learned some first tricks.

Making hula hoops
Making hula hoops
First tries!
First tries!
Hula hoop group
Hula hoop group

Friday Night Entertainment: 7:30-8:30, Twilight Zone mini-marathon in the Coffee House/Wine Bar

The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone

 

First data collected

To be able to reach our stations on the Ross Ice Shelf we have to fly with a Twin Otter. Every morning we are ready at 7 am and wait for the phone call that confirms our flight. After 4 days of being ready and eventually hanging around at the office because we didn’t fly we finally took off to go to the first station on Friday.

Getting ready to take off and reach our first station by Twin Otter.
Getting ready to take off and reach our first station by Twin Otter.
Relaxing before reaching the site.
Relaxing before reaching the site.

After a pleasant one hour flight to the ice edge we reached our station ‘DR01’.

Crack on the ice shelf front.
Crack at the ice shelf front
Ice edge
Ross Ice Shelf front

Our two main tasks are setting up a GPS station (UNAVCO) and digging out the data logger of the seismometer (PASSCAL).

GPS station in the middle of nowhere.
GPS station in the middle of nowhere.
Digging down to get the data logger.
Digging down to get the data logger.