Happy New Year to you all!

The  McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Soils Team this year consists of Diana Wall, Martijn Vandegehuchte and Ashley Shaw from Colorado State University, John Barrett, Kevin Geyer and Eric Sokol from Virginia Tech and Ross Virginia and Ruth Heindel from Dartmouth College. The season started with a sequence of flights from Denver to Los Angeles to Sydney to Christchurch, where we had to wait a day to get our extra cold weather gear issued and fitted. So we visited the Canterbury Museum and the botanical gardens. The museum had a temporary exhibition about Scott’s last expedition, with great information about Scott’s expedition to the South Pole and some interesting pieces such as handwritten lecture notes by Scott. The next day we boarded a C-130 Hercules airplane for an eight hour flight, which was fitted with skis so that it could land on the ice runway which is in poor shape at the moment because some strong winds deposited sediment onto the runway which causes it to melt. We had just stepped out of the airplane and were greeted by an excited Adélie penguin. Our ride to McMurdo station, Ivan the Terrabus, actually had to drive onto a “magic carpet” that was then pulled by a tractor across the ice. The next day the new team members Ashley, Sabrina and Ruth went to Snow School, which you will read more about in the next post. In the meanwhile the others did a refresher survival course, a course on environmental safety and some other training. We spent the past few days planning the field work, setting up the lab at McMurdo and getting our field gear ready. Right now the snowy weather is keeping us from flying a helicopter to the field sites, but hopefully that will change soon and we can go out to the Dry Valleys!

Team B-507-M has landed on the ice.

Team B-507-M has landed on the ice.

Advertisements