We have a map in our office with all the stations that we have to service.
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.
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.
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.
We had great views of the Transantarctic Mountains on our way to station DR16.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Cross country skiing: During our shakedown we had some time to try cross country skiing.
Hula hoop: Time to learn something new – why not hula hoop?! We build hula hoops and learned some first tricks.
Friday Night Entertainment: 7:30-8:30, Twilight Zone mini-marathon in the Coffee House/Wine Bar
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.
After a pleasant one hour flight to the ice edge we reached our station ‘DR01’.
Our two main tasks are setting up a GPS station (UNAVCO) and digging out the data logger of the seismometer (PASSCAL).