Hi all. Apologies for the late updates. I had two blog posts ready (one after Christmas & New Year and one while we’re in MCM) but never got the chance to really post it due to various reasons. There’s another blogpost right below this post about our Christmas in the field, New Year, camp pull out and Icestock music festival in MCM, so please read that one too. Anyway, the purpose of this particular post is to celebrate our successful completion of Taylor Glacier field season. I think the I-159 Taylor Glacier 2014/2015 field team managed to ran a logistically smooth and successful Antarctic field campaign in the manner that would make Amundsen proud, completed so much scientific sampling and on field measurements that would make Edward A. Wilson proud, and displayed so much human endurance and hard work that would make Shackleton proud. Well, the Shackleton comment might be a bit hyperbolic – our field condition wasn’t as dire as the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition and we weren’t eating pemmicans and frozen solid butter, but the first two remarks I honestly think weren’t hyperbolic at all – especially the Wilson one.
With a team of only 13 people (10 people during the first half of the season, and 8 people during the second half of the season) we drilled about 800m – 80,000 lbs worth of Taylor Glacier ice with the IDDO Blue Ice Drill and some hundred meter or so with the Sidewinder drill. The age of the ice that we drilled ranges from 8,200 years to 130,000 years old. From those ice we melted roughly 20,000 lbs worth of ice with the big ice melter for the 14CH4 measurements on site and shipped about 4,000 lbs worth of ice (both from BID, sidewinder drill, and chainsaw samples) back to the US for further analysis. The ice that we shipped back to the US will be analyzed by six different institutions: University of Rochester, Oregon State University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Desert Reseach Institute – Nevada, Harvard University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. To quote Daniel Baggenstos – one of the pioneer of the Taylor Glacier horizontal ice coring work and a former team member of our project: “It’s gud.”
With the risk of sounding like an actress who have just won an Academy Award for best actress, I want to personally thank every team members who are involved – especially because the majority of the logistics, ice drilling, and on-site gas measurements are there to support the big melter operation which is my own Ph.D project. First off I want to thank our awesome camp manager Kathy Schroeder (pronounced: Schra-der) for her impeccable work in supporting our camp logistics, arranging helicopter flights, making the depot inventory list for next season and providing us with some of the best field meals in Antarctica that would make Scott roll in his icy grave underneath the Ross Ice Shelf. Also thank you for introducing me to a whole new dimension of greatness in cinema art that is Bollywood movies. Then I want to thank Mike Jayred and his two drill assistants Jake Ward and Peter Sperlich for their tireless work day in and day out drilling with the BID and doing repetitive and tedious work drill run after drill run out in the wind – I calculated that for the reccee and main melter work combined they must’ve done more than 600 drill runs total. I also want to thank the OSU folks, Ed, Andy, Thomas, and Rachel – especially Andy who stayed for a full season for setting up the field GC system, helping with the reccee work for the big ice melter and measuring our Essex tanks. Then I want to thank Isaac Vimont for coming down and helping me with the melter, thanks for lifting all those heavy BID cores, powering through those damp and cold Tyvek suits and rubber gloves in the morning, and Scott-ing up through potential carpal tunnel when spraying the melter. Thank you for putting up your own Ph.D work on hold and coming down here to help me in the field. I also want to thank you Sarah and Jeff for helping with the melter reccee and their knowledge of the stratigraphy. Special thanks for Sarah and Andy for putting up with my insane troll logic arguments throughout the entire season. Finally last but not least I want to thank Vas – my advisor for everything – almost literally everything. If I mention all the stuff from Vas that I’m thankful with it’ll take an entire blog post or maybe two so I’ll just save those to pad out the acknowledgement section in my Ph.D thesis (if it ever happened).
Anyway it’s been a great season and it’s my honor to work with this team. These people are really awesome.