ANSMET, The Antarctic Search for Meteorites

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Back to work!

Posted on January 15, 2017

We got back in the field today after three straight days of tent! Basically ANSMET has a “tent day” when the weather does not permit us to search for meteorites- which means it is either completely overcast (sometimes called a whiteout) and we can’t drive the skidoos because there is no surface definition and it is easy to dump a skidoo sideways on an unseen snowdrift (e.g., ask Johnny about that), or, it is too windy to work. The latter happens to be the cause of far more tent days in my experience. Because most of us are scientists down here we know the approximate wind speed at which cancellation for the day happens, 18 knots (which equals about 20 mph). This is the rate when the snow is really whipping on the ground and also elevating up in the air a few feet. The blowing snow leads to uncomfortable ANSMET searchers and probable visual shielding of meteorites- there is anecdotal evidence which contends that meteorites are missed when it’s windy. Thus, it is just not worth it to search in windy conditions. Today we finally got a respite from the heavy winds; they dropped down to about 15 knots and we got out. Spent 8 hours searching and recovered a season day-high of 32 meteorites. YaY! We also covered a lot of ground, going 25 miles on our skidoos (I told you we were scientists and of course someone is measuring and recording our daily miles). So, we are happy and tired tonight but looking forward to a few more days of searching before we start pulling out of the field at the end of this week! Jim January 15, 2017

Page last modified: January 25, 2017