Work at Camp C went very well, the borehole was drilled and televiewed and we collected many more kilometers of radar data. We also dug a two meter deep snow pit for sampling the density, temperature and water content of the firn every five centimeters from top to bottom. By excavating an adjacent pit we were also able to take photographs with the fifteen centimeter separating wall backlit by the sun making the various ice layers within the snow clearly visible.
Yesterday we dismantled Camp C and convoyed to Camp E about a hundred kilometers further south on the ice shelf. The journey went well and took just under five hours with a few stops for snacks and leg stretches. We put up the sleeping tents on arrival and the ‘clam’ or science tent and solar panels this morning. We mostly manage on solar power to recharge 12V car batteries which are then used to charge batteries for the computers, radar and GPS equipment. Now the camp looks a lot like the last two but with the odd tent door facing a different way, or the pee flag in a different relative location, which is occasionally a bit disorientating. As we are closer to the mountains again the view is more impressive—or it will be when it stops snowing! After a busy morning, followed by a bacon and biscuit brown lunch we are having a quiet afternoon.
We were hoping for a resupply flight from Rothera today but the visibility, cloud base and contrast have been too poor for a safe landing for the plane. The resupply will include some more science equipment, some extra manfood boxes, a booze top-up, a new toilet tent and some empty poo bins. I’ll leave you to decide which items we are anticipating the most!
Whilst here we will continue with the radar and borehole work, and the additional kit when it arrives will also allow us to do some seismic surveying. Seismic surveying will involve laying out an array of geophones, hitting the ground with a large mallet, and recording the reflected sound waves. From the timing of the reflections it is possible to deduce the travel speed of the sound waves within the snow and hence the snow density.
We still have about two and a half weeks left in the field so we are hoping to be able to finish work here and then move again, another sixty kilometers or so inland toward the mountains.
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