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December 30, 2002

End of the Year Field Work

Productivity has gone down somewhat since the epic Abbott day, due to marginal weather. We seem to be plagued by it this season. Nelia figured the ratio of workable (day on which we were out more than about three hours) to non-workable days has been about 2-to-1, which she deems typical. However, she also says there are usually more really nice days: Calm, sunny, warm days.

Sunday, the 29th was nice in the morning. There are no helos on Sundays, so we knew we were working locally. The whole group of us, sans Sarah, skidooed out to an area of ice towers commonly referred to as Harry's and surveyed as Nelia and I had several days before. My task was note taking. After a good bit, we called off the survey due to wind. It wasn't intensly windy, but even the breeze was making it difficult to measure windspeed out of the towers and CO2. Plus, my hands were cold, and the rest of me was starting to be. I was slowing down. It was a good time to head back for lunch. After lunch, Nelia and I retrieved the campaign GPS equipment from E1, the side up on the rim of the side crater. The place had skanked up, and we anticipated wind and cold, and consoled ourselves with the idea that the task would be short. As it turned out, the weather at E1, although skanky, was quite pleasant. The GPS receiver was happy. We broke the site down quickly. We were happy. We went home.

But it was still early. Nelia, Bill, and Rich E. headed off to start installing a power station around the other side of the volcano; R.K. and I headed off to install a campaign GPS instrument at HELZ, a site which we'd already surveyed. It's good to repeat measurements sometimes, to get an idea of repeatability. Plus, I think I accidentally created a new mark on the top of the monument last time I surveyed it, but screwing our mount on a little off-center. So, I may have been off the real mark by about 1 mm. The folks I worked with in the Philippines used to say, "What's a few millimeters among friends?" Since we're looking for motions as small as a few mm/yr in this case, a mm setup error is--while often hard to avoid--not very good.

Since Monday, we've had the same helo plan for the morning and been denied the same helo plan every day. The general routine has been wake up, come in, get ready, talk to helo ops, get put on helo hold due to weather in either McMurdo or up here, and wait until noon. Realize at noon that we're better off calling off the helo plans and working locally. Head out after lunch. On Monday, Nelia, Bill, and I spent the whole afternoon continuing the ice tower survey over by Harry's Dream.

[Nelia measures CO2 from an ice cave. An ice cave that probably extends at least to her feet.]

Nelia found a particulaly nice 'picnic spot' on a ridge of lava flow flanked by ice towers. "We should take a picture of Beth up on that tower, because it's so pretty," she said of a nicely-formed fumarole. I start to climb up. Hmmm, doesn't look too stable, I say. Go on up there, says Bill. Looks a little thin, I say. And this is as far as I got.

[But at least I'm happy. What a goof ball.]

Bill says to Nelia, Climb up to the top. Nelia comes to check it out. She pokes at the ice and snow with her axe. Hmmmm. She get a little farther than I did. Climb all the way up, says Bill. You climb up, says Nelia. Bill says, Okay.

And he did.

[Bill says: "I'm gonna jump!" "No, Bill, don't do it!"]

So Nelia climbs up. No problem. Then, climbing down, she says, Okay, Beth, now your turn. Says Bill, Don't let Nelia pressure you into it.

[This time, to the top.]

We continue on with our survey. Bill and Nelia go in for a little synchronized cave entrance scoping.


[And probe.]

We finish off the day with Harry's Dream. Bill climbs up to a ledge where he can access a few periferal entrances. Steam emits from the top opening.

Posted by beth at December 30, 2002 2:41 PM