Thursday, December 6, 2007

Greetings from Miers Valley

The last few days have been extremely busy with wrapping up reports and packing up our gear. Then at the last moment yesterday, after being on hold for three days, we were put in the field by helo. Still, the weather wasn't too good, because a low pressure system kept hanging around the Ross Sea area, but the helo pilot managed to slip us in and out between snow storms. We headed for Miers Valley, a small dry valley south of McMurdo Station off Blue Glacier in the Transantarctic Mountains. The rocks in Miers Valley are basement rocks composed of metasediments, cut by mafic dykes. Granitoid intrusions also occur. Many fragments of these types of rocks were found in the ANDRILL SMS core. We landed next to the calving front of Miers Glacier, a nice example of a polar cold-based glacier. These types of glaciers only melt at the surface as you can see by the meltwater rills on the calving front behind the helo. We also found huge ventifacts: rocks that have been sculpted and blasted by wind carrying sand and gravel particles. We also made a stop at some volcanic islands to pick up scoria samples for comparison to the ones we found in the core. Finally we made a kind of emergency stop on a moraine in white-out conditions and waited out the weather a bit before heading back to McMurdo.

Last night was "Bag Drag" which is basicly checking in for the flight on the C-17 back to Christchurch, New Zealand. We will be leaving tonight, a little later than normally, because the C-17 had mechanical problems. I have been told they have been solved, but we will see. The weather is looking fine today, so the plane should be able to land. So, I will be hopeful and say: this was my last blog from Antarctica, see you back home in a few days!

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