Friday, December 27, 2013

27 December Update

The ABN camp is really in full swing now. Everyone is busy at their tasks: two drilling teams, a processing team, and support folk. The processing team consists of a number of the most recent arrivals, and they have put up the last of the large tents and are filling it with core cutting and cleaning facilities.

Yesterday, in the evening, we enjoyed our Christmas celebration. A delicious meal and everyone swapping stories, including anecdotes from the countless accumulated field trips. These included fond memories of some of the pioneers in our field, notably our recently departed Danish colleague Sigfus Johnsen, whose memory we toasted.

The weather hasn't been so good the last couple of days, with a fair bit of wind and snow, as I think I mentioned. We are largely immune to the weather now, with all tents up and most work inside, but moving around camp with the cloudy skies and 'flat' light can be tricky. There are 30cm plus high drifts between the tents that weren't there a day ago, and these nearly invisible obstacles make for some clumsy stumbles. I'm nearly at the point of having to get a shovel to dig out the entrance to my tent - entry is now a hands-and-knees slide down through the canvas tunnel; exit is a case of throwing out whatever you are carrying and diving uphill onto the snowdrift.

The drilling continues well - the main core has reached 100m, and the day has a couple of hours left. The firn air coring is also going well - we are at 85m and Jerome and David have just completed another air extraction, with air that looks like it is about 13 years old, and still in the porous phase (the bubbles are not sealed and the air is still actively connected to the atmosphere).

I need to finish off now and go and drill a few more metres in preparation for the next air extraction.