Friday, June 30, 2006

Wednesday, 28th June: The great journey by sled to Station Nord.

This is where all the ice core boxes are buried.

This is our cargo line.

Everybody is up at 0300 and before breakfasr we all take our tents down (North Face 12' domes). Breakfast consists of muesli, bread and cheese, Parmaham and a good cup of coffee. Personal equipment of the first four to go (Sigfus, Steini, Bo and Steff) is strapped down on the two Nansen sledges along with the Kansas internet equipment, and at 0430 Sverrir and Lars drive off with the first crew to Station nord. The snow is very wet, soft and heavy. The drive down off the ice cap is quite unnerving since
the snow is so slick that the snow mobiles have no way of stopping during the decent. The terrain outside the ice cap is only partly covered with snow, which is so soft, that the unfortunate one who steps off the sleds sinks in to the hips in soaking wet snow. The trip is done without incidents, except for Sigfus who falls off the sled and takes a few rolls in the snow.
While the first team in on the way, the second team takes down the kitchen weatherport.and packs the last items. Sverrir and Lars are back in camp at 1100. With the sledges and snow mobiles we move the last cargo into the cargo line, where we now have lined up 101 pieces of cargo. Together with the 39 crates of ice core which are buried in the snow we have a total of 9219 kg cargo. We have to leave this cargo behind until we get opportunity to pick it up by Twin Otter airplane or helicopter.
There is less load on the second trip which has to occur during the warmest part of the day; but we reach Station Nord safe and sound at 1500. We are received in a fantastic way by the four Station Nord people (Svend, Thomas, Kim and Claus) and a bone weary crew eats supper and try to be in a celebration mood in the bar until the eyes simply close on their own. We will take revenge tomorrow!

Weather: It has been white out by fog all day and no wind.
Temperatures: -2 to +2 C.

We are so glad that we mapped out the route on GPS on Monday. Otherwise we would not have been able to navigate down in conditions with zero contrast and visibility.

Tuesday, 27th June: Camp is struck.

It is the grand day of packing! We weigh and move all boxes from the drill dome tent to our cargoline. Then we take down the drill tent.
There is also hectic packing activity in the kitchen tent. The great tangle of internet connections and lap-tops is reduced to one single line which is kept open until 2100 in the evening. Late in the afternoon we celebrate midsummer with a bonfire of the flooring plywood from the drill tent.
During the day we pack, weigh and document 70 boxes of cargo and it is a very tired group of people that goes to bed at 0200. At 0300 they all get up again!

Weather: Overcast, fog and frost, wind 3 m/s from S. Temperatures 0 to +3 C.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Monday, 26th June: We are packing down.

We wake up to a warm sunny day and everybody starts packing equipment into boxes. Sigfus measures temperatures in the bore hole. At the bottom it is -12 C. During the day we pack all drilling and scientific equipment. The remaining food is sorted out. Dry food will be transported to Station Nord. The frozen food has been stored at
marginal temperatures for a while so we decide not to bring that out.
Plastic and cardboard is removed from the frozen food we plan to leave on site. Sverrir and Thorsteinn drive down to Station Nord on snow mobiles to check if it still is possible to to go all the way. They return after supper and report that the track is still good, but the snow is wet and heavy so the snow mobiles may not pull a heavy load.

Weather: Sunny, wind 2 m/s from NW, temperatures 0 to +3 C.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Saturday, 24th/25th June: Drilling is done!!!

This is our last day of drilling, and at 4 AM we pull the last ice core up. It is very beautiful, 1.40 m long and the final depth is 435.93 m. The core is logged and processed and packed to 435.70 m. The lowest 23 cm receive special treatment: It is carefully cleaned and used for ‘party ice’ in whiskies served. The final 3 crates of ice cores and samples are buried in our ‘cementery’, where we now have 39 crates buried under 1 m of snow to keep them from melting.

It is Saturday ‘night’ and we begin preparations with ‘snow showers’ and cooking. The day is warm and sunny with temperatures above freezing so the snow is wet and heavy. We enjoy an excellent meal with grilled salmon and gorgonzola, lamb roast with red wine sauce and vegetables and mashed potatoes (chefs: Steffen and Sverrir) Afterwards we move outside to enjoy the weather.

A surreal evening begins (probably best understood by people in camp): We had a shooting contest with a laundry machine filled with tomatoes as target. During the last days of drilling it was a fight to make the laundry machine spin our ice chips because the drill fluid caused the machine to slowly disintegrate. We wonder whether the producer of the laundry machine ever considered these two uses: Spinning ice chips and target practice? Later we got a telephone call telling us, that the Danish C130 flight to Station Nord was cancelled, but a substitute would be found. A short while later we were called again and told that the Twin Otter that was supposed to pick up the whole camp and fly us to Station Nord in three days was postponed. However, spirits in camp were high and we decided to go to the Moon. We walked into the ‘dark’ of the kitchen tent with blinds on the windows and enjoy the premiere of ‘Life on the Blink’. We laughed our way through three shows of the movie and continued the evening playing dice and talking. This Saturday night has to be really long because we want to switch back to a normal day and night rythm. Sunday is therefore cancelled, and people have to sleep through until Monday morning.

Weather: Sunshine, winds 1 m/s from NW, temperatures -1 to +2 C

Friday, 23rd/24th June: 400 m passed and 400 m cake eaten.

We woke up to a day with 13 m/s winds and low clouds. It is now our second last drilling day, and we spend again the whole day drilling and processing. Today we passed 400 m depth and we celebrated this by eating a cake. We still drill in the new fluid, and we have enough of this for the rest of the drilling. The fluid column is about 10 m now, and drilling is a little more difficult at this depth. We have lost the inner core barrel several times, and it is difficult to get the reamer down to full depth. Theories are that either there are ice chips sticking to the hole wall or that we are now so deep that bore hole closure by ice flow becomes a problem.

For supper we got a fantastic pork roast with gravy and mashed potatoes and vegetables and for dessert a 400 m cake (chef: Bo).

Weather: Overcast, snow, winds 10-13 m/s from NW and temperatures -3 to -1 C.

Thursday, 22nd/23rd June: Record Drilling

Ice core drillers come in different sizes.

An overcast day with winds ou to 8 m/s. All hands have still been busy drilling and processing ice cores and once again we succeeded in beating our own record.
We drilled and processed 35.50 m ice core and reached a depth of 382.11 m. We did not encounter any major incidents.

The laundry machine we use to spin and separate the ice chips from the drilling fluid is about to disintegrate after 2 weeks of use.
We have now filled 34 crates with ice cores and samples, and we estimate to fill a total of 39 crates when we stop drilling Saturday evening.
Temperatures today: -4 to -2 C

Wednesday 21st/22nd June: The deepest ice core from small ice caps in Greenland.

We have sunshine with rather warm temperatures with a short period during night with
Ice fog. The day passes uneventfully with drilling and processing. We beat our own daily production record by drilling 33.87 m to a depth of 346.61 m. During the day we celebrate that we have passed the depths of Renland drilling at 324 m and Hans Tausen drilling at 344 m. Today we saw several layers with iclusions of 2 mm particles in the ice core. We don’t know whether the particles are volcanic ash, dust or biological material. This will be very interesting to find out when we get the ice home for analysis.

In camp we have an exiting film project going. We will have a premier show on Saturday of ”Life on the Blink”, and we hope to put the film on the web at a later stage. A still shot from the movie can be seen below.

For supper we had pork roast with pasta (chefs: Sigfus and Trevor)
Weather: sunny, winds up to 5 m/s from N, temperatures -5 to -1 C.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tuesday, 20th/21th June: 300 m depth passed.

The ice core from 300m depth

Once again a warm, sunny day. In the 'morning' at 6 PM, when we begin our work in the drill tent, temperatures are just at the freezing point. When we cut the ice with the saw, we produce water instead of ice chips, and our samples stick to the processing table. After a couple of hours it gets cooler and for the rest of the day it is -2 to -3 C in the tent. When we end our working day in the 'evening'at 10 AM it's melting point temperatures again.

Tha cable spooling on our winch is now so bad that we have decided to cut away 250 m off the length. Steff and Sverir did so, and after dinner we started to drill again.

While the winch was being repaired Lars, Bo and Namcy went 1.3 km North of camp to perform a 2.8 m pit study. they took 5 cm profiles for chemistry and sotopes.

Dinner was paella prepared by Dorthe.

Weather. Fine, winds up to 2 m/s from N, temperatures -5 to -1 C.
Present drilling depth: 312.75 m

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Monday, 19th/20th June: It gets a little too warm..

A moment of rest in front of the kitchen tent.

Sunshine again however with somewhat too warm temperatures so we
have a few problems processing the ice cores. The day is normal with
everybody busy drilling and processing ice cores. The winch drum and
cable spooling is teasing us because the winch drum deforms, and we had to unwind and rewind the cable twice today.

Drilling depth: 289.11 m.

Weather: Fine, wind 2 m/s from S and temperatures -3 to -1 C.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sunday, 18th/19th June. Nice and quiet Sunday.

(editorial comment: Since a week ago camp has had the clock turned upside down. Their working day is during the arctic night with midnight sun, and they sleep and rest during day time.Thus their "Sunday" starts Sunday noon and ends Monday noon.)

We woke up to a sunny day with erverything covered by frost. Work started slowly and we drilled and processed 19.31 m ice core during the day. Sunday is always a quiet and rather uneventful day, so for today we have no stories to offer.

Weather: Fine, winds up to 3 m/s from S, temperatures: -7 to -5 C.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Saturday, 17th June. Not a day without incidents..

The camp is still sitting in cloud. Frost is covering everything and we have little wind today. We have now filled all empty foamboxes in camp with ice cores, and we need 10-15 more foamboxes for the rest of the planned drilling. We spent some time today converting the pit excavated for science into a food freezer. All frozen food boxes were excavated, and the food placed on shelves in the pit. The pit has been covered with a tent since we are out of plywood in camp. We monitor the temperature in the pit.

The morning shift had a good start but after 3 hours the achor for the spring support of the drill tower broke as the tower was tilted to horizontal position. Parts flew 20 m out of the tent but luckily no one was hurt. Steff and Sverrir spent the rest of their shift repairing the damage. And they were successful! We managed to drill 8.37 m to 247.52m.

And then it was Saturday "night". Everybody got dressed for the occation. We put table cloth and candles on the table. We put blinds on the windows to create a nice warm and "red" evening atmosphere. The menu was composed by team2 (Steff, Sverrir, Thorsteinn, Dorthe and Bo) and it consisted of a tropical drink (lemonade with rum and snow), chilli shrimps, roast with fresh asparagus rolled up in bacon and ice cream with strawberries. We had a nice Saturday night with some dancing and games of dice called "Meyer".

Weather: Overcast with winds up to 5 m/s from S and temperatures -7 to -4 C.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Friday 16th June.: Tangled cable..

To our great surprise we woke up to yet another sunny "day" with good cold temperatures. This was the day we would beat the record and drill and process even more than 30 m! It all went fine until after lunch when the cable on the winch became completely tangled up!
Our Hans Tausen drill setup is designed to carry 300-400 m cable, and the winch is not constructed for the 700 m cable we are carrying. The sides of the winch drum were being pushed apart and the cable began to tangle up on rewind. To fix it, we pulled the entire cable out on the surface with a snow mobile. Steff did a fantastic job fixing the drum, and the cable was rewound with a tension of 50-75 kg. And we had to make do with a daily production of only 21.3 m beautiful ice cores.

We had real tortillas with chilli beans for lunch (chef Trevor) and a pork roast with potatoes for supper with raspberry-paste for dessert (chef Bo).

Weather: Sun, no wind, -7 to -4 degrees C
We are now 209 m down into Flade Isblink.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thursday, 15. June. We progress smoothly ....

Another day with beautiful weather. After some further tests with the liquid in the newly drilled bore hole we started drilling.

It was a productive day where we drilled 22.34m of core.

We evaluate the drill liquid, and are sofar happy with it. We need the centrifuge 1-2 times pr. run, and the centrifuging takes 13 min. This is sofar the slowest part of the drill process.

We drill and process the core in two shifts from 18 pm to 10 am in order to take advantage of the colder nights. The workday usually ends with a cold beer in front of the weatherport when the sun begins to warm at 10.
We had chicken for lunch (chef Peter) and salmon with vegetables for dinner (chef Nancy). We have been in contact with Copenhagen in Kangerlussuaq.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wednesday, 14th June: The first "wet" cores drilled.

Another lovely sunny day. The camp is now in overall good shape, but still small tasks remain such as sorting rubbish into piles of metal, glass and combustibles while the drillers conduct tests with the new and environmetally friendly drilling fluid which we plan to use in future deep ice coring operations. The bulk of the fluid consists of a coconut oil derivative so both drillers and the drill have to get used to working with this rather lubricating substance.

We conducted pull and drop tests in the bore hole. Different zones in the hole with different diameters (126.6 mm and 134.0 mm) had been prepared, and the tests were done with both open and closed valves in the drill. The fluid is more viscouos than we are used to, but on the other hand the fluid does not smell and there are no environmental issues. During the tests, the inner core barrel detached itself and fell to the bottom of the hole. It was easily retrieved, and it demonstrated that the core barrel locking mechanism (which is meant to be able to unlock by remote control, and is part of the safety system of the drill) needs to be adjusted to compensate for the increased lubrication effect of the new fluid.

At the end of the day we were able to drill a few cores which came up long and perfect. Cleaning the cores for excess drill fluid turned out to be an easy operation, although the cores were a bit slippery at first. We have a commercial laundry machine for spinning the wet ice chips to separate the fluid from the chips in order to re-cycle the fluid. However the spin program of the laundry machine takes 13 minuttes, and as we produce two loads of chips per drill run, it takes time.
We stopped working after supper, and people in camp are very satisfied with the new fluid and the nice soft coconut oil treated hands obtained.

For lunch we had fried chicken with bean salad and mashed potatoes (chef Nancy) and for supper we had a special: Icelandic Lamb prepared by Sigfus and Thorsteinn.

During our "night" a U.S. C130 visited Station Nord, but a feared low altitude pass over camp did not occur.

Weather: Sun, little haze, no wind and -8 to -6 C.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tuesday, 13. June. Filling drill liquid in the hole

We woke up to an overcast. We have rime and it feels like being in the middle the cloud that sticks to Flade Isblink. We have no wind and good low temperatures. We undug all drill fluid and fuel drums from snow drift and we estimate that there is enough fuel left for the last weeks in camp.

We spent the day preparing the drill for drilling in liquid and set up facilities for collecting the liquid from the drill and clean the drill and the ice cores for drill liquid. The first 400 l of the new drill liquid were mixed and put into the bore hole. We now have to wait for the liquid to cool from the -5 deg at the surface to the -16 deg at 160 m depth in the bore hole. In front of the drill tent there is now located a centrifuge to be used for extracting drill liquid from collected ice chips in order to recycle the liquid.

In the morning we also labeled coulter beakers to sample three parallel profiles within a 3 m deep snow pit close to the bore hole. After lunch we dug out the pit and took the samples.

For lunch we had left over lasagne, for dinner we had a curry fish pot and blueberry cake with cognac cream (chef Dorthe) and after dinner we went to the movies to watch 'Ghostdog'.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Monday, 12. June. Reaming the bore hole

We had a most fantastic Sunday with sunshine, no wind, and -10 degrees C. We had a clear view in all directions and could see the mountains in the horizon. We spent the day cleaning up in camp and adjusting the weatherport to make it horizontal again. There had been so much melting below the weatherport that it had started to sink in the middle. We expanded the area in front of the drill tent and started to prepare for the use of drilling liquid.

We spent all day reaming the remaining part of the bore hole. It went fine even if Steff and Sigfus had to take care that the reamer would not get stuck because the motor got warm and had water on it. A couple of hours after dinner we finished the reaming down to 148 m depth. We had decided to leave the deepest 15 m with the original diameter so that the viscosity of the new drilling liquid can be tested at both diameters. We got late breakfast with eggs and bacon (chef Nancy) and lasagne with bread fait a la maison (chef Bo).

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sunday, 11. June. Logging the bore hole temperature

Despite of being Sunday, this is actually the Saturday dairy. We woke up to a windy and grey day. Weather was however good enough to allow for a trip down to Station Nord to give back the skidoo we had borrowed there. At Station Nord they were slightly surprised to see us arrive around midnight, but Lars and Sverrir were kindly offered a glass of wine in their own quarter. In camp the day was first spent logging the bore hole temperature. At 130 m depth the temperature is -16 degree C. Then the reaming of the hole started. The hole needs to be expanded by 3 mm in order to change from drilling in a dry hole to drilling in a liquid filled hole. The reamer (see pictures) cuts away from the side of the hole and Steff can remove 4 m at a time until the reception tank is full of ice chips. We reached a depth of 40 m before 4 am when our Saturday night could start.

Lars has birthday and we started at 4 with cake and champagne (that we got from Station Nord). We sang birthday song and Lars got presents: a small umbrella in case it will start raining on Isblink and a present from home with good CD's. We got marinated king prawns with avocado dip, fillet of beef with bacon, new potatoes and pepper sauce (chef Lars). We played Meyer and had a nice evening slightly marked by day and night being up side down.

Saturday, 10. June. Working at night

Now the diary skips half a day because we've started working at night. We have changed to New Zealand time or 12 hours delayed as compared to Greenland east coast time.

We wake up and have breakfast at 5 pm. We start drilling and processing at 6 pm. Lunch is at 10 pm, dinner at 6 am and work ends at 9 am, whereafter we all go to bed. We have split in 2 drill teams and 2 processing teams and we succeeded in logging, measuring and packing 60 bags (33m ice core) today.

Logging depth is now 164.34 m
packing depth includes bag 296

The core quality is varying with thick layers of waffly ice (see picture). We can see that the melt layers are fine whereas the normal ice with air bobbles is waffly because the pressure in the bobbles makes the ice brittle.

Generator 2 has been repaired using the spare parts that were brought up to camp and we run on generator 2 when the drilling goes on.

The catering has been excellent as usual with pasta and meat balls in tomato sauce for lunch (chef Trevor) and chicken with rice and vegetables for dinner (chef Peter).

Thursday, 8. June. Back to the camp

The Grønlandsfly Twin Otter with Flemming and Ståle as pilots fueled right after breakfast and the departing team took off at 9 am. Many hugs and kisses were exchanged before Jørgen Peder, Simon, Andreas, Bruce, Claus and Dennis started the impressive flight down the east coast. On this trip a stop-over was made at Danneborg with a delivery to the Danish sledge patrol in Northern Greenland, the Sirus Patruljen. A low camp overfly gave some nice photo opportunities. Thank you to Flemming and Ståle for providing such nice weather!

The ten who will stay in camp to the end are: Dorthe, Sigfus, Steff, Sverrir, Lars, Nancy, Trevor, Bo, Peter, and Thorstein.

We spent some time at Nord to try to repair one of our skidoos that was broken, but it didn't work out. Instead it was possible to borrow one skidoo from Nord and we started the trip up to Flade Isblink. After two trips everybody were up in camp at 20 pm. The menu that evening consisted in fresh strawberries, Danishnish potatoes, asparagus, and roast beef. Mum.

We made a big decision to turn up side down day and night in order to sleep during the (too) warm hours in day time and work at night. From 10 pm to 1 am we drilled three cores that were logged measured and packed so that everybody could see how it is done. The cores look very nice and it is difficult to see that we are actually at 130 m depth. We guess that the melt layers and the warm temperatures together with a well-tuned drill that provide the beautiful cores with no breaks.

The plan now is to sleep as much as possible during Friday, have breakfast at 5 pm, and start drilling and processing at 6 pm in two shifts until 10 am Saturday morning.

Wednesday, 7. June. Reunion at Station Nord

Finally, the big exchange day arrived. Team 2 flew from Kangerlussuaq to Station Nord and team 1 went by skidoo from Flade Isblink to Station Nord. Team 1 reports that the 40 km long skidoo trip is rather bumpy! In particular the last 20 km across the ice cap are bad. There is a rather strong 'sastrugi' pattern on the surface that provides a good shaking of the kidneys. The trip offers an exceptional view of Isblink down to the sea. It took two return trips to move everybody from the camp down to Nord and everybody were nicely cleaned before the Twin Otteren arrived! Team 2 had a beautiful flight. First 5 hours from Kangerlussuaq to Konstable Pynt and then 5 hours up along the Greenland east coast under a clear blue sky. Team 2 came to Station Nord at 8 pm and for the first and only time all the field participants were together. It became a nice evening at the bar where many camp stories were told. Clearly team 2 will have something to live up to. A super dinner was provided from Station Nord. We would like to thank the crew at Station Nord for warmly welcoming the 15 of us.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tuesday, 6. June. Waiting for the take-over

There was no exchange of personnel after all today. The plane to St Nord was cancelled because the weather was marginal. The forecast for tomorrow looks good though.
The first team was ready to leave in the morning, but then the trip was cancelled. It has been somewhat windy and colder. This also meant that we could start drilling at 13.00. We continued till 22.30, and the processing continued till after midnight. We have reached 128m depth, and the ice contains much fewer melt layers indicating that we are in a cold period. It could be the so-called "Little Ice Age" between 1600 and 1870 AD.
We had warmed-up leftovers for lunch. Claude prepared late-night food: Chinese egg-soup, rice, fried prawns and vegetables with nuts. The dessert was ice with strawberries (life is hard in the field :-)).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Monday, 5. June. Ready to change crew.

Here in camp we are now preparing for the replacement of crew which is planned to take place on Tuesday/Wednesday - if the weather allows it. According to the plan 7 persons will fly from Kangerlussuaq tomorrow noon with a Twin Otter. After 5 hours they will land at Konstabel Pynt (Scoresundby airport) and after another 5 hours they will hopefully land at Station Nord, which will be at midnight, due to the time difference between Station Nord and Kangerlussuaq of 2 hours. We will start driving the 6 persons who shall leave the camp for Station Nord, when we have received a message that the airplane has taken off. At Station Nord everybody will meet before the airplane departures to Kangerlussuaq again. Following, the new crew will be driven to the camp.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast for tomorrow, Tuesday, says snow and wind at Station Nord (and therefore also here in camp) and if that happens, the flight will be postponed one day.
Here in camp we are getting used to the highly variable weather, and we have learnt to listen seriously to weather forecast. Therefore, despite the nice weather at the moment, we are taking precautions.
We have cleaned up in camp, removed all loose items and registered where everything is stored - and we have secured the tents.

It is still high temperatures. The sun is shining from a clear sky and there has been no wind. The temperature again raised to 0 degrees C and the snow was wet and heavy. Again, it was to hot to be drilling the ice core, but this evening we experienced a small breeze and the temperature immediately fell down to -5 C. The drilling started at 6 pm and the work will continue until 3 am in the morning. We have now drilled more than 103 m.

Apart from this we have spent the day on building a new toilet, checking and preparing the skidoos, cleaning up in camp, digging out some plywood from a depth of 70 cm and finally, we have been looking for a pair of skis that disappeared in the snowstorm 2 weeks ago. They were found by putting a probe down into the snow, just like when looking for people that has been lost in an avalanche. The skis were buried one meter down in the snow. The generator was checked and we changed the oil and amongst our food boxes we found a lemming that was alive! There are thousands of lemmings around Station Nord. It is a rodent that behaves very much like a mole - but in snow. It digs pathways in the snow and during the winter it can easily eat of the vegetation that is covered in snow. If it is frightened it stands up and starts yapping. The people at Station Nord tells that a lemming was so insulted by having its pathway system destroyed by a 10 tons heavy snow blower that it actually attacked the snow blower, and now we are talking about an animal that is as big as a mouse, but without a tail and ears.

The lemming has been the focus of a lot of discussions here. What is it doing here, on a 600 m thick glacier 20 km away from the margin? Some claims that it has run here, others think that it must have been a stowaway when Sverrir and Lars came back from Station Nord on Thursday.
The Kansas people has finished packing. They have made a back-up of their data, so they are ready to leave Flade Isblink.

We had re-heated leftovers for lunch. Simon cooked a night meal: Onion soup and beef with peas, sauce and mashed potatoes.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sunday, 4. June. Summer is approaching

It' s getting warm here. The sun shines from a clear sky and it heats. The air is completely quiet and at noon the temperature hit 0C. It is much too warm for the drilling. We decided to spend the day relaxing and doing minor chores in camp. A tent has been moved, as the floor began to sink because of the warmth. We don't want to drill at day time when it is so warm, so we decided to drill at night instead. We will probably have to move our "days" for some time in order to drill when it is cold (it is light all night anyway). At midnight the temperature was -4.5C and going down. The Kansas people finished their measurements today. They even managed to do an ekstra 12km line across the ridge so we can see whether there is a large accumulation difference on the north and south side. They are very happy to be finished two days before leaving. We installed another cooler in the drill tent, and we are making a new loo for the next team.
Bruce cooked dinner: Chicken with pasta and tomato sauce. JP made a nigth meal: onion soup with Andreas' good bread.

Saturday, 3. June. A nice saturday

It has been a good day. We began to prepare for the exchange of staff next week. We put up another tent since the camp will host 10 people from next week on. Sverrir, Steffen and Lars will stay for the whole period. The drilling and analysis went fine today. We appreciate our cooling system for the drill tent. Cold air is blown into the tent through a channel in the snow, and the temperature and the tent can be kept at -6C.
We had a nice Saturday evening with Lars cooking mushroom soup, lamb, spinach with feta and stewed blackberries.
In the afternoon the Kansas people had an accident which got a lot of attention in camp. While driving with the radar they hit one of the poles that Lars had put up 2 weeks ago. Lars has put up 8 poles on 36 km2, which is 1 pole pr 4.5 mill. m2, so the chance of hitting a pole should be extremely small (although they are measuring on a network based on Lars' poles).
During the first 20 days on Flade Isblink we have had 11.5 days with nice weather and 8.5 days with blizzard. Quite changeable!
On nice days like today everybody opens the tents doors in order to dry everything. The sun is shining and it is beautiful. Everybody is working outdoors and enjoying it. Hard to imagine the blizzards when it is hard to see what is up and down, although we know for certain theiy exist.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Friday, 2. June. A beautiful and productive day.

It has been a lovely day with a lot of activity in camp. Four men are working continuously in the drill tent. Two are drilling and two are working with the ice core. The two Kansas people has now mounted a new type of radar. This radar does not see the bottom, but focuses on layer structures close to the surface. These radar data might give us a picture of the annual precipitation variability across the glacier.

Three men were digging out our food from the snowdrifts. All the boxes had disappeared in the snow. Fortunately the rows were marked with bamboo sticks, so we knew where the boxes were. All the boxes were pulled up. We checked all the food and re-packed the boxes. As we have eaten some of the food, we could empty some of the boxes, which will be used for packing the ice cores. We then immediately buried all the boxes with frozen food in the snow again. We also cleaned up a bit around the kitchen tent. Here we had a lovely mess of boxes, plywood and snowdrifts. Now it is nice and tidy again.

It has been a very beautiful day. We could see the mountains far away. We had small sparrows and one northern fulmar flying around our camp. As long as the fauna does not manifest it self through something bigger, like a polar bear or so, it is really nice to see some animals.

Today we have been in touch with VECO over the Iridium phone.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Thursday, 1. June. Stumbling over snowdrifts.

This was the day with snow and wind from the opposite direction. There are snowdrifts on spots that we are not used to. We stumble over snow that is not laying where it usually does. Our nice toilet where the door is usually at the leeside all of the sudden had snow blowing in through the entrance. This had two consequences: 1) When we had to go we had to leave well in advance to dig out the door first and 2) We had to do our business very quickly in order to avoid getting too much snow in the face.

We could not do very much outdoor work today, but in fact that was not needed. The drilling of the ice core is performed in a tent, so we could easily go on with this. We have now reached the depth of 49 m and the core consists of more and more refrozen wet snow. Was it warmer here in the past? Right now we can only guess, until we get some analysis done, but we believe that the Flade Isblink core contains quite a few answers.

In the evening Sverrir and Lars came back from Station Nord. GPS is a fantastic instrument here in the middle of nowhere. The Kansas people were unable to do any work due to the bad weather.

We have been in touch with Copenhagen, VECO and Station Nord over the Iridium phone today.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wednesday, 31. May. Change to southerly wind

The day started off very nice, but we new the weather might change. We have had weather forecast from the Canadian Met Office emailed from Copenhagen, and they have proven rather reliable. For today and tomorrow they however announced wind above 10 m/s from south-southeast. Difficult to believe since we for 17 days only (except for one 3 hour period) experienced northerly wind. But we did have southerly wind this morning and by evening it had increased to a strong breeze. We (very unscientifically) agreed on two things in camp: 1) It has been blowing north so long that nothing can be left, and 2) Since east and west don't exist when your at the pole the wind also only blows from north or south. These should of course not be taken as official scientific statements :-)
The wind only increased in the evening amd thus didn't hinder a very productive day. Tonight it seems like the snow that passed a few days ago comes back.

Claude and Dennis finished their radar measurements of the ice thickness in the area. Lars and Sverrir left to St Nord by snow scooter. It took two and a half hours. They will pick up gasoline, some spares and wash clothes. They return tomorrow if weather permits.

We drilled down to 36m and the cores are a mixture of refrozen water and compressed snow. The analysis work fine, but they are a lot of work. At 30m depth the temperature in the hole was -13C.
We have been in contact with Copenhagen, VECO and St Nord over the Iridium phone.