Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February 16: Back in Rothera

A little over two weeks ago we left Rothera by Twin Otter to do four glacier installations and some radar work. We came back yesterday. The Antarctic Peninsula lived up to its meteorological reputation and we spent much of our time in whiteout conditions. It all started ok, with a landing on the upper Flask Glacier. Our intended landing site was obscured by fog, so we were dropped off a bit further upstream. The picture shows the Twin Otter taking off on a beautiful evening. The next time it could land here safely was eight days later.

By the next day, the view changed to mostly white, a common theme for the following two weeks. Here is our camp:

The weather had changed too quickly to bring out the GPS installation, so we didn't have much of our equipment. However, we did manage to tow a radar across the glacier to measure how deep the glacier is. Erin is trying to navigate without much visual reference. I am dragging another sled with the radar receiver and computer behind me.

About a week later, the weather broke and we were treated to two beautiful days, and for the first time this field season, I saw a nice moon rise. This made me think of Sonja who promised to send kisses to the moon for me. So I sent one too.

This weather wasn't there to stay though. It took another week before we had flying days again and last Saturday we made it to the adjacent Leppard Glacier, and on Sunday to our final destination at Scar Inlet. This is the last remainder of the Larsen B ice shelf. It will also disintegrate in the next few years, and then the glaciers behind it will start flowing much faster. We are now well positioned to measure and document this change.

Now we are back in Rothera, hoping to rejoin the ship via a flight to Palmer Station.

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