2018-19 Season preview

Hey ANSMET followers, we’re finally getting around to announcing our team for 2018-19 and giving you all a preview of the season.  First, this year’s team includes equal parts veterans and newbies: John Schutt will again be the team’s lead mountaineer and he will be joined by our second mountaineer, Brian Rougeux.  This is Brian’s fourth season with ANSMET and we are very happy with his progression towards lead mountaineer status for the coming years.  I’ll (Jim Karner) be the science lead this season, and the last vet on the team is Brian Hynek of the U of Colorado, who joins ANSMET for his second season.  Newbies include Sheridan Ackiss, who has just completed her PhD at Purdue University; Paul Scholar, who is finishing is Master’s degree at Case Western Reserve University with Ralph (who will stay home in Cleveland); Elena Dobrica, a research scientist in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Dept. at the U of New Mexico; and John McBrine, from the Astronaut Office at NASA Johnson Space Center.

ANSMET team 2018-19 (clockwise from upper left): Paul Scholar, Brian Hynek, Brian Rougeux, John Schutt, Jim Karner, John McBrine, Sheridan Ackiss, Elena Dobrica.

This season we will return to the icefields surrounding the Davis Nunataks and Mt. Ward, not surprisingly known as “Davis-Ward”, or “DW”.  Meteorites (designated DOM for the nearby Dominion Range) were first found at this site during a reconnaissance traverse through the upper Beardmore region by Bill Cassidy in 1985.  In the 2003-04 season, a recon team visited the area for five days and recovered 89 meteorites, which pointed to the need for a systematic search of the area.  Systematic searches in the 2008-09, 2010-11, and 2014-15 seasons yielded another 2000 meteorites.  You can see blog entries from previous seasons at Davis Ward by clicking on the “2014 / 2015 Field Season” box under the Archives menu above.   About 20% of the bare ice at DW still needs systematic searching by snowmobile, while large areas of the ubiquitous moraines that surround the ice fields need systematic searching on foot.  There’s a lot of terrestrial rock on the ice at Davis Ward,  and some amazingly dense meteorite concentrations too.

The Trough, one of several sites at Davis-Ward with a high density of meteorite finds.

ANSMET will deploy to the ice a few days later than normal this year, in early December, and we plan to get into the field and out to DW by mid-December.  We’ve scheduled a full six weeks in the field, and hopefully all goes well and this will be enough time to complete search and recovery efforts at these ice fields!

-posted by Jim Karner from Utah with some editing by Ralph in Cleveland.