Saturday, November 22, 2008

back to the ice

Hello everyone,

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I enjoy putting it together. It should be a fun season with lots of great stories and lots of great photos. I'm going to try and post more regularly this season so keep checking back. I'm also going to try and include more science and technical stuff this year so if you have any questions please feel free and post them in the comments section. I also plan to do some features about life at McMurdo and other non-science related material so there should be something for everyone.

My trip to the ice started in Christchurch, New Zealand. This is a shot of my hotel, the Windsor. I'm going to post some photos of the Christchurch Botanical Garden in the next day or two.

And this is Winnie the weenie dog. She is in charge of the joint. The Windsor is really her hotel, we're all just staying there. So I try and stay on her good side by sneaking her some table scraps at breakfast.

This is a shot of the CDC (clothing distribution center) in Christchurch. This is wear we receive our ECW (extreme cold weather) gear for the ice. We use a lot of acronyms here.

These are some shots of our flight to Antarctica on the C-17.

Here's one for all you pilots out there. It's picture of the flight map to Antarctica.

Getting off the plane in Antarctica. The runway for this monster plane is located on the frozen sea ice.

A shot of me in front of Mt. Erebus, the world's southernmost volcano. McMurdo, the big US research station where we are staying, is built on a lava flow from this volcano. Mt. Erebus rises 12,541 feet above sea level. The summit contains a persistent convecting phonolitic (intermediate between felsic and mafic composition) lava lake. Characteristic eruptive activity consists of Strombolian type (weak) eruptions from the lava lake or from one of several subsidiary vents, all lying within the volcano's inner crater. Mt Erebus is classified as a polygenetic stratovolcano. The bottom half of the volcano is a shield and the top half is a stratocone. The composition of the current eruptive products of Erebus is anorthoclase-porphyric (feldspar crystals in a fine grained matrix) and tephritic phonolite (volcanic bombs that fall from the air) and phonolite. One of the big projects down here this year will use seismology to image the magma chamber and inner workings of the volcano. Pretty cool!

You can watch videos of eruptions on Erebus here:

Check it out!


Ryan said...

Nice to see your your posts are up and running. Looking forward to reading them again! Be safe and try not to crash a plane this year... and I'll do the same.

brian said...

Your blog brings back great memories of my trip to Antarctica. Thanks for sharing.

Mom said...

I'm glad to see you are back posting your blogs. I enjoy them!!I've shared the blog address with lots of folks. Have fun and enjoy your 3rd season on the ice! BE SAFE!! Love, Mom

Claudia said...

Your mother sent us to this site. What a gift! Enjoying your pics and looking forward to more blogs. Stay warm!

Justin said...

That's incredible Mitchell. What is that big spool looking thing directly in front of you guys on the plane?

Stay safe and keep the posts and pictures coming. That is just too cool man.


Nancy said...

Dearest Mitchell, Greetings from Wisconsin! Thanks so much for doing the blog. I am finally up to speed about blogs and am looking forward to following your South Pole adventures. Please avoid any plane crashes--no repeats of last year on that one. I just read in the Wisconsin State Journal an article about a UW team working on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory and was wondering if you had any contact with those folks. In the article they note that the highest recorded temperature at the South Pole is 7 degrees--the very kind of zero digit temperature many of us dread. Our cold that we have been preparing for is inconsequential to what you experience there. Mom (Grandma to you) is visiting for a couple weeks around Thanksgiving. Grandma, Tess, and I send you our love and best wishes as you are such a blessing to us. Love, Aunt Nancy

Nancy said...

Mitchell, I meant single digit rather than zero digit in my comment. Love, Aunt Nancy

kfourcat said...

Stay warm! We will be checking this all the time. love ya,

gaylikeme said...

Hey Mitch,
Last year I posted a comment about Polar bears and someone much more intelligent made fun of me and said there were no polar bears in Antarctica. It crushed me. I vowed not to make any other posts for the rest of your trip. Well it's a new year buddy and it's good to see you back at what you love. Keep us posted and WATCH OUT FOR THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN.

Jo said...

Thanks for including me. See you soon for ravioli. Hope this is a great field season.

Nancy said...

Mitchell, Hi, I agree with your mom on all counts--the pictures are fantastic, wondered what type of camera pictures were taken with and yes, be safe! Love, Aunt Nancy