When I woke up this morning at 5:30 it was -1 F, so I thought today
was going to be cold. As the day went along, however, it got warmer
and warmer. It was well over 20 F for a while today and the wind
wasn't blowing. It was another beautiful day in Barrow!!
I met Dr. Hajo Eicken and his graduate student Andy Mahoney for
breakfast this morning and made our plan for the day. The first
thing we did was head over to the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium
(BASC) warhouse. There, we loaded up the big sled with all kinds
of scientific gear and tools. We had a generator, shovels, drills,
chemicals, sampling containers and all sorts of other stuff. Once
that was done, we cranked up our snow mobiles, hooked the sled up
and ventured out onto the pack ice in search of a good drilling
site. Hajo and Andy drilled a couple of samples while I set up for
After our audioconference we went in search of "young"
ice. Hajo and Andy wanted to get some samples of ice that was only
several weeks old. We had trouble finding it, though. If you take
a look at the photo with this post you'll see a big pressure ridge.
We ended up climbing to the top of it, so that we could see better.
We spotted some "young" ice that was right near, but we
couldn't see it before because of all the jumble up blocks of ice.
The pressure ridges were amazing! I could not believe how big the
blocks of ice were that had been broken apart and stacked up so
high. Some of the blocks of ice were bigger than most cars. The
forces that break up the ice like that must be incredible. It was
a little scary standing next to those big blocks of ice that were
precariosly jumbled on top of one another.
We also observed some animal life today. The first animal we saw
today was a little shrimp-like creature call an amphipod. The amphipod
came squirting up out of the first hole we drilled today and surprised
us! Andy saved the little guys life and gave him a nudge back into
the hole. We also saw arctic fox tracks running in and out of the
big pressure ridge that we climbed. We followed its tracks for while
and found where it had stopped to sniff and dig at several places.
I am thouroughly enjoying our adventure here in the arctic. Just
being out on the ice, observing the beautiful ice formations and
the evidence of huge forces at work is both humbling and inspiring.
This is a truly fascinating place!