Well, we’re all settled in our next (and my last) field camp. Yesterday was camp put in. It was a really, really long day. We spent several hours pitching the tents, and setting things in place. The hardest part of pitching the tents is finding enough large, heavy, rocks to make rock anchors for the tent chords, and place on the valence. It was a grueling process, but the efforts were worth it. We now have a secure and cozy little home nestled onto the desolate nothingness that is Black Island.
Today, being the first day in camp, was a recon day. We spent most of the day hiking the entire length of the moraine we want to study. We trudged along for a little over 8 hours and 6 miles, eyeing spots for sampling and pit digging. We were impeded in several spots by large snow drifts flowing down the ridge sides. We would then have to hike all the way down and around them. That wasn’t so bad. It was much worse hiking back up to the top of the moraine. We definitely earned our chili dinner today.
|Drew and Nat set up camp.|
|Sunny day over White Island.|
|Saying goodbye to the helo with an erupting Mt. Erebus in the back.|
|Our new home from a distance.|
As tiring as these hikes are, I think it’s my favorite thing about camping. The rocky terrain may be rough to walk on, but it provides some interesting finds. The rocks here on Black Island are oddly different from the ones on Mt. Discovery, even though they’re both volcanic outcrops, and fairly close in proximity. It’s cool to see new geomorphology, and make guesses about the area’s history. I can’t wait until the samples get back to BU, and we’re able to see if the dating results match up with our guesses.
|Hiking on the moraine.. Hello Mt. Discovery!|
|GPS-ing a possible sample.|
|Another cool rock, you can tell it is very old by its weathering, it's both peeling and ventifacted. A ventifacted rock is one that has been hollowed out over time.|
|Sizing up potential samples.|
This evening, after FINALLY making our way up over the ridge and back to camp, we made some final weather preparations to camp, and settled down for dinner and quiet time. Drew pours over his maps, Natalie reads some of the book she borrowed from the McMurdo library, and I blog. With the approach of summer, the weather has been steadily warming. And Black Island seems to be getting the memo more than Discovery did. In the tent, with the sun streaming down, we barely need our fleecies. And, on the horizon wayyyyy in the distance we can see a little strip of blue. The ocean is creeping up on the Ross Ice Shelf as the sea ice breaks up. Perhaps by the time Dan and Dave the ice around the Johnson Box will be melted, setting it up as a real Island. But for now, I think I’ll still enjoy my hot drink and the warmth it provides before bed. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll get some samples!
|Steamy Mt. Erebus|
|The other Brown Peninsula.|