mlml logo

nsf logo Powered by Blogger.
Monday, October 8, 2007: Sea Ice School
Today we learned all about Sea Ice and how to determine if its safe to drive on with our various tracked vehicles. Heres a picture of what happens when youre not careful!


Susan taught us how to use all the tools such as ice measuring tape rigs and ice augers, both hand and gas engine driven.

Nick models one of the 2 inch flights. Flights are what the extension auger sections are called. They are modular and you plug in a bit on one end and either another flight or the power head on the other.

We load up in the Hagglund vehicle which is a really cool, 4.2 ton tracked vehicle with a front tractor and a people and/or equipment hauling tracked trailer. This baby is amphibious so even if we crash through the ice it still floats and the tracks paddle us around. Im not convinced it could climb back up on the ice though.

Here we are loaded up its cold and windy today with a wind chill around -60 F on the ice.

We drive out on the ice and learn how to look for dangerous areas with our excellent FSTP instructors Galen and Danny. FSTP stands for Field Safety Training Program and these guys were the same great instructors we had for Happy Camper survival training along with the also excellent Kevin.

They finally let me run the gas powered auger and poke some holes in the ice at a pressure ridge. Here we could see that the ice was thinner here and, though it was still safe for our vehicle, we did hit water. I wont explain it all since it would take all day - just as it took us.

As we drill deeper we add flights in 1 meter sections. This can get a bit difficult but you really cant leave the flights in the ice and add more or they freeze solid in a few minutes.

If you look closely at the Hagglund you might notice its number is AT96007 and, since its just like the one in the James Bond Movie Moonraker, it is so labeled and referred to as double-o-seven.

As we look at cracks in the sea ice that have refrozen we sometimes find other evidence that there was a crack to open water. Whenever there is an open crack, seals or penguins may find it, come up for air and even pop out for a while and hang out on the ice. When they hang out they poop and pee which we can easily spot on the seemingly endless desert of snow covered ice. Thats the little black stuff in the picture. And yes, it does smell - once it thaws

Here I am with Perkiomen Valley Schools Travel Bear. Not only has she been in Antarctica but here she is on the sea ice next to the magnificent Barne Glacier. Just in case you can't tell, it's really cold and windy out on the ice today! The tiny bit of nose that's exposed is cold and requires me to frequently pull my neck collar up to warm it, otherwise it would look like Mindy's frostbitten fingers. You can't really leave your nose in there or the vapor builds and turns to ice an gets your whole face cold.

I wonder where travel bear will show up next...

Here Nick is holding up the Barne Glacier. Hes really feeling the weight on his shoulders as he has to get SCINIs hardware bits together for a cold water pressure test on Thursday.

In case your wondering where we went, heres a map. My thumb is pointing to McMurdo and my finger is pointing to the Barne Glacier. Im getting REALLY psyched up for my check out dives which are supposed to be at Little Razorback Island which was along the way.

Post a Comment!

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]

This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ANT-0619622 ( Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.