With the engineers and some drillers busying themselves with the replicate corer (“big drill”) and us corehandlers having finished with my array of shallow cores (“baby drill”), the science folks here at WAIS Divide have had the rare opportunity to dive into our list of side science projects that one usually runs out of time for at field sites.
One such project involved giving a couple drillers some experience with their Eclipse Ice Drill (“little drill”). If you believe the hype given the little drill at morning meetings, the little drill is dominating the big drill in terms of production. We now have a 120m borehole through the firn near camp. It’s cased and GPS’ed for future science endeavors.
[Pic 2: The driver’s seat of the little drill … you keep an eagle eye on your amperage (lowest dial) and your left hand on the “wheel”]
Another project could be thought as I-477’s “thank you” to WAIS Divide camp. This year’s camp group is pretty phenomenal, and we pondered how we could express our appreciation for such an awesome collection of people. How about a 3-sided, backlit snowpit? What a wonderful idea … and an idea where we could also do some science! So John Fegyveresi, Logan Mitchell, and I dug 4 two-meter deep snowpits to create this mini-monster. A backlit pit, or “light-pit method” (R.M. Koerner, 1971) allows an observer to map the stratigraphy in great detail. Or, if you’re like me, the hidden blue beauty of snow simply awes you.
Like Koerner suggested, we used the opportunity to map the stratigraphies along the back wall (parallel to dominant wind direction) and side walls. We also took density measurements.
And we also took some pictures … lots of pictures, to show the breadth by which one can appreciate and enjoy a backlit snowpit.And we also took some pictures … lots of pictures, to show the breadth by which one can appreciate and enjoy a backlit snowpit.
Finally, this being a Sunday … I just had to write about the Saturday night dance party that spontaneously occurred at WAIS Divide. What started out as a poorly-heated Polarhaven with a wool blanket covering the door’s window, a decade-old boombox, a PC with music and DJ software, and our cook-cum-DJ, magically transformed into a multi-hour dance-fest. As you might imagine, the “poorly-heated” became over-heated quite quickly, but the music boomed until there was no one left to boogie. Obviously, pictures from this festivity “do not exist” … but just imagine, in the best possible way, the synergy among a dance club, winter camping, and a midnight sun. For those out there who have danced in icy or polar climes … I can see your smiles!