I have a ton of pics from our last couple of days out that I want to post, so I will attempt a narration about them so it doesn't just look like a random assortment!
The first set of pictures are from our second to last field day out at the Cotton Glacier. We were collecting enough water to fill 2, 55 gallon drums and 6 20L carboys! It was a lot of water. Due to all of the issues with helicopter schedules and getting our gear and all of the empty carboys out to the field, we had the chance to ride out in the Kiwi helicopter (owned by New Zealand). It's a pretty slick machine!
|The Kiwi helicopter -- isn't it beautiful? They have a contained back rudder and the whole front is a big bubble of glass. It is so much fun to ride in!!|
Once we arrived at the glacier, we went around checking out all of the monitoring equipment that we leave in the field from trip to trip. The Cotton Glacier meltwater stream is an extremely dynamic system that changes constantly throughout the season. We hoped to capture these changes using meteorologic data from a weather station, pressure transducers, stream gauging, and plant cameras that collect hourly time elapsed photos. However, the system was rough on our equipment and we almost lost a lot of the gear. The picture below is of the met station that was originally installed with about 1.5 feet of clearance before the edge of the ice. By the end of the season, the ice had melted so much that the station looked like it was about to topple over the edge.
|Our meteorological station before we took it down on our second to last field day at the Cotton. The mountain in the background is called Sperm Bluff because the early explorers thought it looked like a giant sperm whale.|
|A pretty large river channel through the surface of the cotton. Just a few weeks before, this whole area was covered in water|
|Awesome little sand structures Mike and I found on our walk around some of the sand dunes. They look like tiny little sand cliffs.|
|An ice cave Mike discovered in some of his wanderings!|
|The helo finally picked us up to whisk us back to base. It was quite a pretty ride home. This was one of the waterfalls I spotted off the end of a glacier.|
|Columnar basalts on the top of Killer Ridge, which borders the upper part of the Cotton Glacier|
|Gorgeous blue ice peaking through the sand of the melt water stream in the upper Cotton Glacier channel|
|Penitene ice in an area of water ponding|
|Blue ice again in the melt water channel. It is amazing to think, as we stand on the sand dunes that solid ice lies just below us. These images of the stream always remind me of that fact and it continues to amaze me.|
|The lower section of the Cotton Glacier melt water channel|
|Interesting melting patterns of the ocean ice, taken as we flew back to McMurdo|
|I am not sure which mountain range this is, but again it was taken on the way back to base|
|The sun was striking the meltwater channels at a very nice angle|
|A beautiful sunset to end our last field day. I took this pic from McMurdo as we headed to the dining hall to catch a late dinner.|