Update from the Field!
(December 2, 2013)
Prof. Brenda Hall and Master’s student Courtney King are in Antarctica to understand ice extent in the Ross Sea region following the Last Glacial Maximum. Courtney passed along an update from McMurdo Station, and is now in the field!
After a few days of delayed flights and missed connections, I finally made it into Christchurch. With just one full day in city, I spent the morning trying on the clothes from the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) and the afternoon walking around the city looking at the ruined buildings and active demolition. The next morning we boarded a C-130 Hercules in a drizzly Christchurch, flew for ~8hrs and landed in Antarctica where it was relatively warm with clear skies! Since then, the Hatherton team composed of Dr. Brenda Hall and myself from the University of Maine, and Ph.D. student Trevor Hillebrand and Dr. John Stone from the University of Washington have been preparing for our month in the field. Some of the many tasks that needed to be done before we leave include: going through the food list; look over all equipment needed in the field; attend Happy Camper Snow School; and review satellite images to determine our second field site. While in the field, we plan to map the glacial geologic landforms in order to better understand the ice extent in the Darwin-Hatherton region. Rocks samples for exposure age dating and algae samples for radiocarbon dating will be collected in order to assign time constraints to the ice extent.
Update from the Field!
(Jan 14, 2013)
Prof. Brenda Hall and Master’s student Scott Braddock are in Antarctica to explore the history of the Ross Sea region. Scott passed along an update from McMurdo Station, and is now in the field!
Our research team for this project includes three members from both the University of Maine (Dr. Brenda Hall, Scott Braddock, Audra Norvaisaite) and the University of California – Santa Cruz (Dr. Paul Koch, Rachel Brown, Jon Nye). We met in Los Angeles and made the long journey to Christchurch together. After several days in New Zealand, we boarded a LC-130 Hercules and flew to McMurdo Station.
This is the first time four members of our group have travelled to the Antarctic (myself included), which meant we needed to spend a night sleeping on the sea ice for Happy Camper School. We had a chance to learn a few survival skills and enjoy some time off the base.
We are now waiting to head out to the field and begin our work. We have two objectives for the season. First, the group will sample the mummified seals found throughout the Dry Valleys to determine both former population sizes as well as the isotopic signature of the seal tissue. The second part of the project involves collecting mollusk shells to reconstruct of Holocene temperature variation using oxygen isotopes. Together, this information may give us details about past climatic and sea ice conditions in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica during the Holocene.