Friday, October 9, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions

Hi everyone! 
I thought I would share the answers to some of the questions people commonly ask me. If I forgot anything please leave a comment with your questions and I will do my best to answer them!

Q: How will we get there?
A: On October 28 we will fly out of Boston to Los Angeles. From there we go to Sydney, Australia and then to Christchurch, New Zealand. After some prep in Christchurch, we take a military jet to McMurdo (the biggest American scientific base in Antarctica). We will spend some time in McMurdo going through survival training, getting our supplies and equipment ready, and picking out the food we will eat for the month. Eventually, we will take a small helicopter to the field site where we will pitch our tents and begin! This entire trip from Boston to the field will take about a week.

Q: Where exactly are we going?
A: Our field sites this season are on two different volcanic islands: Mount Discovery and Black Island

(Images from Google Earth)

Q: What do we pack?
A: The only things we are required to bring on our own are socks, long underwear, and toiletries. Everything else we will need is given to us.

Q: How do we get our other gear/clothes?
A: Once we arrive in New Zealand we will receive flu shots and our extreme cold weather (ECW) gear. 

Q: Will we ever go inside?
A: Only at McMurdo!

Q: How will we stay clean? 
A: Wet wipes and a toothbrush!!!

Q: How will we blog?
A: Emma and I will create blog posts in the field, which we will then give to a helicopter pilot, who will give it to someone back in McMurdo, who will then email it to someone back in Boston, who will then post it online.

Q: Will we see penguins?
A: Hopefully!! They won’t be where we stay, but there’s a very slight chance a nice helicopter pilot could take us to the coast to see penguins.

Q: What is the field work we will do?
A: Each day we will collect samples of algae, rocks, and other sediments. Eventually, we will be able to date these samples (algae using radiocarbon dating, rocks using cosmogenic nuclide dating), with the end goal of being able to date the moraines (deposits of debris that form at the end of a glacier, and remain once the glacier retreats) where these samples were found, creating a timeline of glacial activity in Antarctica in the past (particularly in the last 20,000 years since the peak of the last ice age). We can then compare this activity with the records of global sea level rise, in order to understand Antarctica's role in both past and future sea levels, especially as it relates to the current climate change.

Q: How else can you keep track of what we are doing?
A: You should follow us all on Twitter! (@my_frozen_life, @dAntarctica, @Antarctic_Emma)

-Natalie Robinson

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