Thursday, December 12, 2013

Aurora Basin North Update December 12

Position: ABN Campsite
Temperature (evening) -15 °C

We were very grateful today that we got the one tent up yesterday, because
the whole day was far too windy for any serious outside work, and certainly
for putting up a tent. We did complete unpacking of one container before
things got too bad though.

We marked out a parking/turning area off the skiway and our grooming team
from IPEV continued work roughing out the skiway itself and the parking
area. Visibility for much of the day was very poor due to drifting snow.
Already just one day after putting up the generator tent it has drifts over
30cm deep forming around it.

Aside from the bit of unpacking, we did a good deal of sorting of gear,
organising, final tying down of the one tent we have up, and importantly
got the generators commissioned and fuelling stations organised. This is a
big step toward having an independent camp running and so we are pleased
with the day.

Looking forward, the forecast remains a bit dismal for the next day or few,
with similar weather to today expected to continue. Still, we hope for gaps
where we can push forward with the unpacking and hopefully get another tent
or two up. We need to get an independent camp and skiway completed as soon
as possible so we can get the team in and also free up the French team to
depart. It looks like this will take some days yet, but as we arrived a
little early, we are still broadly on schedule.

Actually, the French scientists Manu and Olivier are planning a day trip,
some 40km "upstream" from ABN (i.e. where the ice flow direction leads)
before they leave, and they are also waiting on improved weather. They will
do radar studies and some shallow coring. This work will help the
interpretation of the main ABN ice core by giving us a clearer picture of
the upstream changes in local snowfall rate that have affected the ice at
various depths below us here.