Thursday, October 18, 2007

Diamictites and midnight skies

Today was a very good night. We drilled through the volcanic sequence into all too familiar rocks for this part of the world: diamictites. These rocks are produced by glaciers and ice sheets. Diamictites are composed of debris scraped off the landscape by moving ice, which is then incorporated into the base of the ice when it flows. At the terminus or end of the glacier where melting and iceberg calving takes place, the debris is released and it accumulates in thick layers. We are drilling into those types of layers now. See how sedimentologists describe the core in the video here. We have no idea how old these rocks are, and we hope the paleontologists can give us a clue soon. We found some marine microfossils in a smearslide today that may be useful in providing an age. The paleontologists will probably be working on that today. Watch a video on what paleontologists do here.
On a more casual note: I would like to draw your attention to the increasing hours of daylight in the far South. Coming back from our mid-rats meals we can see the midnight skies changing every day. We have seen the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my life. At this time of the year the sun just dips below the horizon, so it does not get really dark any more. The sky turns almost pink and purple, such as above Mt. Morning (a volcano) here in the photo.

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