199 and counting…

From left to right: Juliane and Barb at the edge on top of Mt. Cecily.

Air bubble sculptures in a frozen puddle in the moraine

Juliane holding the carefully recovered, biggest meteorite of the season.

Today and yesterday we put in some very long hours (10 hours yesterday, 9 hours today) to finish up most of the ice fields. Yesterday we were treated to almost no winds, we only had 2 knots. It was eerily quiet. In addition, we also had a heat wave coming through, temperatures rose up to +8F (-13.3C). This is our highest record so far. I even dared to leave my fleece layer off and was very comfortable in the field (the fleece layer was securely packed in my skidoo though because you never know!!). The sun was warm, and so today we saw the first signs of thawing and melting in the moraine as a result. Today started out super calm as well, the wind was blowing some but now much. It did pick up in the afternoon quite a bit though and by 6pm it was blowing moderately 13 knots (right now while I write this blog we are at 20+ knots). Temperatures today had dropped to -3 F (-19C). So the signs of thawing that we discovered were a few icicles hanging off black boulders and clearly former puddles (now frozen again) in the moraine where the ice was covered with black rocks. Within the frozen puddles were trapped air bubbles that formed beautiful sculptures. This morning we ventured out and traveled up on top of Mt. Cecily to find some GPS coordinates. We had beautiful views over the ice fields and areas we traversed from up there. We also looked for and discovered the old camp from 1995. And it turns out that at that time they clearly didn’t have poo tents with poo buckets. The poo (plus toilet paper) was still there, mummified, after 20 years. Im glad we have poo buckets these days. After we successfully logged the 2 GPS points we were looking for, we searched another ice field and then continued to search our wonderful moraine. There we found the biggest meteorite of the season today, the size of a rugby ball. It was still partly in the ice. It took us a while to recover it but we did it!! And we found the smallest iron meteorite of the season but it has amazing grooves or ridges. Our total meteorite number is now up at 199, with 3 iron meteorites and 11 achondrites. If the weather permits we will be out tomorrow again to break the 200 mark.

Juliane, Mt. Cecily, Antarctica, Jan. 10th at 11pm.