December 30, 2018 – A Meteoritic Feast

A lovely, meteorite-bearing collection of debris in the wind scoop of a boulder. If a rock is big enough and well-exposed to the wind and sun, turbulent air diverted downwards toward the ice surface enhances sublimation to create an aerodynamically-shaped trench. These trenches then collect smaller wind-blown rocks and snow. The trenches can be pretty deep, and often leave the boulder on a pedestal of ice protected from the sun and wind. Until someone from ANSMET tips it over.

We finally caught a break in the weather today, and were able to dedicate a lot of time to both systematic searching the blue ice and foot searching a section of moraine. The morning started off by turning over large boulders and looking through the gravel caught up in their wind scoops (Picture attached). We were pretty successful for the hour or so that we did it. Then, we were off on our skidoos, running transects across the seas of blue ice. We finished the day in a moraine, which we’ve been collecting in, off and on, for the last week or so. This area never seems to disappoint! Once you locate one or two, they just seem to pop out everywhere you look. The proper lighting seems to be the key to meteorite recovery in a moraine. First thing in the morning and towards the end of the day, the sun seems to be cast at just the right angle to reflect brightly off of the shiny space rocks. At theses times they’re nearly impossible to miss. (My first hypothesis was, at these times, the meteorites come out to sun themselves before quickly returning back into the holes that they popped out of. Sounds creditable right?) If our timing is just right, it’s what Jim calls a “feeding frenzy!” Everyone seems to find them all at once. Someone asks you to come look at what they’ve found, and when you get there you point out another one less than a foot away! Before you can get one hole drilled, to put up a flag, you have two more to do. I think at one point we located 20 meteorites in 20 minutes, within 30 meter circle or so. It was truly an amazing time! This is what we came here for and what we’ve dreamed about for so long. We have to feast while we can, hopefully tomorrow will bring more of the same!

Until next time, Paul Scholar