10 June 2009

We begin to understand farmers

Camp crew (J.P. photographer) at Sepp?s birthday celebration.

Camp crew (J.P. photographer) at Sepp’s birthday celebration.

Although we sit on the Greenland ice sheet and believe ourselves to be “brave polar scientists”, we are for the most part city dwellers back home. We therefore all know too well the standard city persons phrase about farmers: “They are never satisfied with the weather – it either rains too much or it rains too little, or it’s too hot or too cold”.

Up here, we begin to understand farmers. We have now got the kind of weather we have been longing for: A long period of stable fine weather and almost no wind. Life is easy on the surface. In the snow caves, however, it is beginning to be too hot, and the ice cores don’t like that one bit. In the drill trench, the temperature reached -14 C, and that is too warm. We need air conditioning in a snow cave on the Greenland ice sheet!

We are now putting a team together with the task to dig a 12 m tunnel in the back wall of the drill trench. The tunnel will run in 6 m depth. Once finished, the tunnel will be sealed, and we will suck air from the firn in the tunnel into the drill trench. This method has been used in other drilling programs with success, and it should work all summer. We, from Copenhagen, have not used this method before; but because we have an international team of experienced people, we benefit from shared experience.

What we have done today:

  1. Drilling with the NEEM long drill.
  2. Logging. Last bag: 577. Depth: 317.35 m.
  3. Processing 15 m ice cores. Processed depth: 126.50 m.
  4. Pit studies 200 m south of camp. Pollen (Jocelyne), 10Beryllium (Anna S.) and stable isotopes (H.C.).
  5. Pulling drum pallets to surface. Organizing new cargo line.
  6. Removing snow drifts in camp.
  7. Made two new shitters.
  8. Celebrating Sepp’s birthday.

Ad.1: This is how the drillers report looks today:
“In the morning the pump was again difficult to move through the grooved outer barrel. It turned out that the screws that hold the new knobs are not sunk deep enough and could be squeezed by the outer barrel. New screws and counter nuts solved the problem. The pumping ability of the pump seems to be deteriorating showing generally increasing drilling current and quite erratic drilling behavior in the third run, even with a clean unpacked pump. Earlier we could handle 4 mm pitch, now 3 mm pitch is getting increasingly difficult to deal with. Reducing the pitch to 2.4 mm by placing 0.02 mm shims under the shoes resulted in stabile drilling and max length runs for the rest of the day. Most likely the seals in the pump are being gradually worn down.
We drilled 19.1 m in 6 runs; drillers depth 307.78 m.”

Weather: Fine all day. -20 °C to -12 °C, 1-5 knots mainly from SSE and S.
Visibility: Unrestricted.

FL, J.P. Steffensen

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