Posts Tagged ‘ice’

Back out on the ice cap

January 24, 2012

19 Jan 2012

Well fed and rested we were ready for another day on the ice. Because of all the uncertainty surrounding the ice conditions we are all trying to make the most of the opportunities we get. Today, in addition to collecting our normal samples, the Bronk team (Stephen and Rachel) are planning to stay a bit longer to collect ice cores and Niko is going to attempt to collect samples for his methane studies. It’s a lot to do and necessitated rather intricate planning, so that we always have enough snow machines, sleds, drivers, guides, and bear guards. Everything started smoothly. We all set out about 11:00 as the dawn twilight began (still no sun, but some light) and headed north. First, we headed north over the frozen tundra and then out onto the ocean. The ice at our new location was very jumbled and rough, which made for a bit of a bumpy snow machine ride. However, the rough ride was reassuring since it meant the ice was probably quite stable. The roughness in the ice and the formation of pressure ridges is largely due to wind moving the ice around and piling it into the shore.  Eventually, with enough pressure it becomes locked in and grounded to the bottom.

Once at the site we began to set-up the camp. Since it was a new camp we had to drill new ice holes and situate the tents over them. We also set-up propane heaters in each of the tents, and unloaded all our gear. It was a cold morning but absolutely spectacular to be out on the frozen Arctic Ocean.

Marc and Victoria geared-up

Drilling an ice hole

Ice camp

Tony Kaleak

Arctic icescape

Everything was going smoothly. First, Victoria and I deployed our Manta water quality instrument to measure the water column and then the Bronk group took over. Then disaster struck! While moving one of their very heavy sample boxes Debbie’s foot slipped into the ice hole and she fell. Her hand hit the propane heater;her down coat touched the hot chimney and melted. Feathers went everywhere. Debbie screamed. It was chaos, but no one panicked. Debbie was quickly pulled to her feet and, besides a nasty burn on her hand (and the destroyed coat), she was fine.

Dr. Debbie Bronk after the fall, it could have been much worse!

We turned the heater off and, when the feathers settled, we were able to continue. But, we thought it best to get Debbie back home so that someone could look at her burn. So while Debbie was escorted back, the rest of us finished-up sampling and then followed her in.

Once back we all got busy in the lab processing the precious water samples that we had collected.

Dr. Tish Yager in her filtering zone

We all realized how lucky we all were today and grateful to be back safely. I for one slept well.

Barrow — January 17

January 19, 2012

17 January 2012

We woke up a little late this morning after yesterday’s late night. Victoria and I met to go over plans for the day and to discuss the details of the experiment that we plan to start today. The experiment is a component of SSU graduate student Zac Tait’s thesis project. Zac couldn’t come this time because he is about to be a father. His daughter, who they will name Iris, is due on 4 February. Zac left me and Victoria with extensive notes and prepared all the supplies but we’ll run it.

The goal of this experiment, as in previous ones, is to test the hypothesis that Arctic Ocean bacteria can utilize the carbon locked up in the humic material that makes up the permafrost, but doing so will require them to acquire more nitrogen. The most abundant source of nitrogen in the water is found in the mineral form of nitrate (NO3). One of the major questions of our project is whether the release of the carbon stored in the permafrost will set-up increased competition for NO3 between the photosynthesizing autotrophs (phytoplankton) and the CO2 respiring heterotrophs (bacteria). The idea is that the more organic carbon that gets released into the ocean the more bacteria activity will occur.  However, that increase in activity will be at the expense of nitrate resources that the phytoplankton need in the spring (when the lights come back on) to grow.  If there is less nitrate available there will be less phytoplankton and therefore less fish, seals, whales etc that depend on a food web whose base is the phyotoplankton. So it’s somewhat of a counterintuitive idea; add more nutrients and get less out.

In previous experiments we found generally that this hypothesis is true, but that the carbon-rich humic material we collected directly from the tundra is used very slowly which makes the question hard to address given the practical constraints of our time here. Because our time is short and the temperatures are cold which slows everything down, we decided on a new twist for these experiments. This time, we are using humic material that has already been broken down some by exposure to sunlight. This process is called photo degradation. Photo degrading complex carbon molecules occurs naturally (It’s reasonable to expect that humics derived from melting permafrost will be exposed to sunlight on their trip to the ocean.) and it increases its availability to bacteria as a nutrient source. So, prior to the trip Zac exposed humics in a solar simulator for 0, 5 and 15 days resulting in increasingly degraded humic materials.  Amazingly, after 15 days of simulated exposure to sunlight the brown humic material was almost completely colorless. The carbon is still there but since it has been broken into smaller and less condensed molecules it doesn’t absorb as much light, thus it appears lighter in color.

Photo degraded humics used in our bioassay experiment

Our experimental design is relatively simple. We use 4 liter (1 gal) milk jugs (actually they are a special nontoxic plastic but they look like milk jugs) to incubate bacteria with the humics and allow them to grow.  Over the course of the week we’ll be here we take samples to watch the bacteria grow track the dynamics of the carbon and nitrogen. Our hypothesis will be supported if we see the bacteria grow and the carbon disappear in coordination with the disappearance of the NO3.

After 9 hours of filtering and rinsing we finally got the experiment set-up and running. We’ll sample it daily (or every other day) for the time we’re up here.

Zac’s experiment running


But the real excitement happened on the ice today. Because we are so concerned about the stability of the ice the UMIAQ crew went out to check our ice camp which we had left standing. When they got out there they realized that the ice was moving a lot and that large cracks were beginning to appear. The crew was scared enough that they just came back leaving the tent behind. But Brower thought they could get it and made a heroic trip back out with Tony and Glenn. They ripped the tents out of the ice leaving the stakes behind, quickly lashed it on two sleds, and hightailed it back jumping cracks with open water. We heard some of it on the radio. The whole situation has us pretty nervous and thinking very carefully about safety.

[Picture –

Brower and Glenn standing by the rescued tents.

Either way tomorrow we won’t go out.  We’ll re-group and re-evaluate.

Barrow — Jan 16

January 19, 2012

16 Jan 2012

Ice conditions are still unstable.  Our UMIAQ support team spent the morning doing reconnaissance of our intended sampling sites. After yesterday’s efforts they suggested that since it might be dangerous, it wasn’t a good idea for anyone on the science team to accompany them. Because the ice is still forming and the ocean is a powerful force, the ice can break-up pretty quickly. The team first scouted out our near shore site, but it was inaccessible due to a major crack between it and our ice trail. We use a trail cut through the ice to guide us on a safe snow machine run over it. They continued on to our second site located further out into the ocean and to the north. The ice in that area seems to be more stable. They liked what they saw and decided that it would be safe for us to set up camp there.

Brower Frantz, UMIAQ logistics leader proudly stands by the ice camp.

After making this decision the team came back, loaded up the camp gear (tents, generators, heaters, ice augers, etc) and went back out. This time Steven Baer from the Bronk group went with them to help orient the tents and make some basic measurements. Before starting we need to know the ice thickness, water depth, and usually how far light penetrates. In this case there basically isn’t any light but hey, we’re scientists. Measuring zero’s (or close to zero) can be just as important. Its data!

Meanwhile, back on the NARL campus where our labs are, there was a flurry of activity as we all checked and prepped our gear. Finally, around 3pm the camp was set-up and we were ready to go. I was pretty worried about how late it was getting, but because we have such a short time up here and the ice was deemed safe now we needed to push a little bit. Who knows if we’ll even get another chance given the dynamic condition of the ice.

The ride out was relatively uneventful. The ice was remarkably smooth compared to our previous trips.  As was explained to me, when the ice first forms it is relatively flat and it only gets jumbled up later as storms, wind, currents, and tides push it around. Flat ice generally means that it is new ice.  That is what was worrying everybody. We know the ice is still forming and moving a lot. Hopefully it won’t move while we’re on it! After about 30 min of driving we made it to our camp. Having well established sampling routines by now, this is our 6th expedition, we all got to work unloading our gear and starting to sample. The Yager group occupies their own tent (the smaller one) while the Frischer and Bronk group occupy the larger one.

Ice Camp 16 January 2012

In the Frischer tent I got started right away making measurements of the water column. We are using a new instrument that lets us measure depth, temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll, pH, and turbidity. It’s a pretty nice instrument but a bit delicate and the computer software is not straightforward. We transported it as if it was a delicate infant wrapped in blankets with warm water bottles and hand warmers to make sure it didn’t freeze on the way out. I think we overdid it! When I unwrapped it in the tent it was positively hot. The instrument worked well and we got a good look at the water conditions. As expected the water temperatures was -1.8 deg C, salinity was around 33 PSU (normal for the Arctic coastal ocean), there was almost no chlorophyll in the water (no light no algae in the water). Most importantly the water column was well mixed which means that we could sample at one depth and be reasonably assured that it would be representative of the whole water column. We decided to sample at 2 meters below the bottom of the ice.

Graph of water data from the MANTA, Eureka Environmental

After I was finished measuring the water the Bronk group got rolling. They rinse and fill what seem like a million small bottles to which they add a very small amount of nutrients enriched in their stable isotope concentrations. Stable isotopes are non-radioactive form of elements (atoms) that are slightly heavier than the normal form. For example, the normal atomic weight of Carbon is 12 (meaning it has 12 protons) while the stable isotopic form has a weight of 13. We refer to it as 13C.  Because 13C  is slightly heavier than 12C, it can be measured on a mass spectrometer. By measuring how much of it goes into cells during an incubation, the rate of uptake can be calculated. The Bronk group is making some of the first ever measurements of nutrient uptake rates by microbes in this region of the Arctic coastal ocean.

The process went pretty smoothly but since it was so cold, even in the tent, the pipettes which they were using to inject the stable isotope into the samples were freezing and slowing the process.

Dr. Debbie Bronk injects stable isotope labeled nutrients into seawater.

Meanwhile in the other tent the Yager group were having even more problems with freezing. They are collecting water samples to make measurements of the carbon chemistry and general activity of the microbes, so it is especially important that their samples do not freeze and are not exposed to the atmosphere which can contaminate the dissolved gas content of the seawater. Unfortunately, their samples were freezing.  However, after getting them off the ice floor of the tent and placing them into a seawater bath (a cooler filled with seawater) they seem to have solved the problem and were able to collect most of the samples they needed.

Dr Tish Yager and Colin Willams collecting water.

When the Bronk group was finished it was our turn.  Our sampling is probably the most straightforward, but we need to collect a lot of water.  We’re collecting enough water so that we can extract DNA and RNA from the bacteria in it.  We collect about 140 liters (about 40 gal or 310 lbs). Using a specially designed submersible pump we collected water in seven 20 liter carboys wrapped in neoprene and then place them in a cooler of snow. Believe it or not, the snow actually keeps the water from freezing. But, as simple as it sounds, we had our problems too. The generator that was running our pump ran out of gas.  Actually, the generator had a gas leak so it’s lucky it just ran out of gas and didn’t explode. But, because of excellent planning on the part of the UMIAQ team we had two generators on site. However, that meant the Yager group was without lights in their tent. We solved that problem by moving two snow machines so they pointed at the tent and the headlights provided enough light.

Finally we were all done and got all our gear and samples loaded back onto the sleds.  It was unbelievably cold and windy and we were all tired and ready to get back. The trip started off smoothly until I managed to get my sled stuck. It’s really tricky pulling a very heavily loaded sled. I had to slow down over a series of small ridges because the person in front of me slowed, and that was all it took for the snow machine to sink a little too much into some soft snow and lose traction. With all of us helping we disconnected the sled and managed to lift the back end of the snow machine out of snow, enough to get it moving. Then we were able to push the sled back to some more level ice and reconnect it to the snow machine. It was exhausting! But the fun wasn’t quite over. As we started moving again Debbie, in an effort to make it over the hole I had dug with the snow machine, went a little too fast over the area and bumped into Rachel and Jenna who were on the snow machine in front of them. No real harm though. Jenna fell off the snow machine but it was into soft snow and she wasn’t hurt. The brand new snow machine Deb was driving suffered a cosmetic crack in its fairing. Without further incident we all made it back safely to campus and quickly rushed our samples to our respective labs for processing.

Victoria and I spent the next 5 hours in our cold room filtering all that water we had collected. We had hoped to start another humic addition bioassay that is a component of Zac Tait’s thesis research, but it was just too late so we decided we’d do that first thing in the morning. After all the filtering was done, our samples put away safely, and all our gear cleaned-up it was time for some well deserved rest. I felt weary and frozen to the bone but pleased with the progress we had made.

Even though the sun won’t shine, tomorrow is a new day.

Day 2 in Barrow

January 18, 2012

Marc Frischer continues his account of his and Victoria Baylor’s research trip to Barrow, Alaska.

15 January 2012

Today we again woke up early and began setting up our labs. Actually day and night are surprisingly similar around here.

Good morning, Barrrow!

Victoria spent most of the day setting up our molecular lab in the BARC building. It is in this lab that we will extract RNA, DNA, and preserve other samples from the bacteria we collect from the Arctic Ocean. One of the questions we are addressing in this project is whether Arctic bacteria are competing with Arctic phytoplankton for nutrients (specifically nitrogen) and whether when more organic carbon from melting permafrost reaches the Arctic coastal ocean if this competition is intensified. We suspect that an intensified competition between bacteria and phytoplankton (algae) for nitrogen will lead to a less productive Arctic food web in a future warmer Arctic ocean. One way to address this question is to measure how actively bacteria are using the most prevalent form of nitrogen in these waters, nitrate (NO3). By looking for this gene and measuring how active it is, we are learning about how this critical nutrient cycling function is controlled.

Victoria setting up lab in BARC.

While  Victoria was setting up the lab I was setting-up the lab (walk in freezer) where we will be filtering water and conducting a bioassay experiment (more on that later). I also spent some time making sure our sampling gear was organized and functional. The pump we use to collect the water from under the ice had seized but luckily with the help of Lance Bennett (part of the CPS team) we got it running. We also brought with us a relatively new instrument to measure water conditions that I am not too familiar with. Initially I couldn’t manage to get the instrument to communicate with its hand held computer, but after a long struggle I finally got it to work. Hopefully I’ll be able to remember everything when we are actually out on the ice.  It’s a cool instrument though, it measures water depth, temperature, salinity, pH, turbidity and the concentrations of chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen all in real time.

Eureka Manta water quality instrument

While we were setting-up, our logistics team accompanied by Steven Baer (VIMS) as a representative of the science team was scouting our sampling sites. For those of you who may not be familiar with our sampling plans, when the ocean is frozen the way we sample is to set-up a camp on the ice, drill holes, and collect water through them. To safely do this we need to be on well secured and thick ice. This time of year the ice is pretty dynamic as it is still forming and major storms can move it around quite a lot. In advance of our trip this year we had identified several possible sampling locations that were consistent with our science needs, but they need to be checked every day. So this morning the UMIAQ team checked. Unfortunately its seems as our original site developed a major crack in the ice and is moving so we had to switch to a different site a few miles northward where the ice appears to be thicker and is more securely grounded (frozen to land). However, even there the ice seems to be moving a lot. So the camp didn’t get set-up and the plan is to revaluate tomorrow morning. That means we wait, but it’s much better to be safe than to risk everything. If there is one thing I have learned during this project it is to be patient and to trust the support we are getting from our local logistic support team.

We’ll just have to see what tomorrow brings. The weather is predicted to be pretty mild.

[Picture- weather forecast for 16 January 2012]

Sunday 1 May 2011 – Last Lab Day

May 4, 2011

Today was our last full lab day and the beginning of the end for this trip.

After breakfast in the cafeteria, Zac and I began to purify bacterial messenger RNA (mRNA) from the water we had filtered yesterday. mRNA is the molecule that acts as the intermediate between DNA and proteins. All the information necessary to code for complex macromolecules like proteins are stored in DNA, but in order to use those instructions a cell must transcribe its DNA information into RNA that can then be translated by another complex molecule called a ribosome into proteins.

Truly life is amazing and it boggles the mind how complex and elegant it is. From the very smallest scale of atoms and molecules to the grandest scales of the universe, everything is connected. Anyway, I digress.

Our goal today was to purify RNA from the bacteria that we had captured on our filters so that we can determine which genes are turned on and how active those genes are. We are particularly interested in those genes that bacteria use to assimilate inorganic nitrogen because we suspect that the addition of new carbon in the form of the humics released from the melting permafrost will require bacteria to use more inorganic nitrogen. If this is true we should see an increase in the genetic expression of the genes involved in inorganic nitrogen assimilation.  Anyway, that’s why we need the RNA.

The initial step of our purification procedure requires two sets of hands and that was my job this morning.  Once we had safely gotten our filters containing all those bacteria into the first extraction reagent which stabilizes the RNA I was free to start packing-up our labs while Zac completed the RNA extractions.

Zac purifying RNA

I started with the cold room where we had filtered all the water.  Although it took us many hours to set-up the lab and to make sure that we had everything in exactly the right place, it only took me about half an hour to dismantle it.

Cold room during use and after being cleaned-up.

It’s kind of sad to tear down a lab that was so functional, but we know we’ll be back in the summer to do it again. Just for grins we left one little piece of orange tape on the floor to see if anyone else uses the space before we get back.

Once Zac finished the purifications we really got busy rinsing and cleaning all our gear and getting everything ready to be packed away.  At around 3pm we stopped to sample Zac’s ongoing experiment; there’s only one more time point to go in that study. Then we went to help Lollie pack her bags and get checked in for her flight home.

Because the airport here is so small but still requires the TSA agents to screen all bags, travelers are encouraged to check in early. This greatly reduces the check in wait times and relieves congestion in the very small arrival/departure area.  After Lollie checked in she went back home and finished preparing a fabulous Mexican dinner for the whole team.

Alas all good things must come to an end and finally it was time for Lollie, Adriane, and Debbie to head back to the airport to start their long journeys home.  We miss them already.

Last Sampling Day – January 30, 2011

January 31, 2011

Mission almost accomplished!  We made it back out to our ice camp today to collect our third and final set of samples for this trip.

I once again dared to ride the sled (and yes with Zac driving) because I wanted to take some video of the trip out there.

Marc using a harness to ride the sled

However, this time I rigged up a harness to wear that made staying on much easier. It worked and I was even able to comfortably hang on to the slide one-handed while I filmed the trip. I’ll try to post some of that video on YouTube soon.

The weather was much warmer today, and we even got a little hot in the ice tents with the propane heaters running. Now that we’re almost done, we’ve really got the routine perfected and everything went smoothly.

While waiting for the Bronk group to finish sampling so that we could begin collecting our water, Zac and I took the opportunity to explore around the camp a little. The bear guard (Reynold) is required to accompany any scientist that strays from the camp because if a polar bear did show up we wouldn’t have a chance on the ice. As Reynold put it, “It’s their land and they have the advantage.”

In our explorations we came across a natural structure formed by colliding ice pressure ridges called an ice house which was really fantastic.

Marc in the "ice house"

I was sure that a human had built it, but Reynold assured us that it was natural. Of course both Zac and I had to go into the house and have our pictures taken. We also climbed up a few small ridges which afforded some really nice views of the camp and its surrounds. Zac talked Reynold into letting him pose with his shotgun.

Zac on bear duty

I learned later that the gun was actually not loaded while Zac had it. The procedure is that only if a bear is actually spotted is the guard allowed to load the gun. I sure hope a bear doesn’t surprise him.  Sounded a little bit like Barney Fife to me. Remember, Sherriff Andy Griffith would only let him have one bullet and he had to keep it in his pocket?

After collecting all our samples and tying them back down on the sleds it was back to the lab for another day of filtering water. Again my harness worked well, and I didn’t even come close to falling off. Zac drove especially carefully as well.

Everything went well in the lab, but this time we had a little trouble with our filtration rigs freezing. We finally got the cold room to our target temperature of -1.8°C (28.8°F) which was great except that every time it warmed up a little bit the compressor and blowers would kick back on and bring it down to -2 or -3. This was just enough to cause some freezing in our equipment.  Frozen water doesn’t filter very well it turns out. So we combated freezing problems until we were freezing ourselves and the job was finally done.

After putting the samples away and cleaning-up a little bit we headed to the girls cabin (hut) for some homemade chicken soup that Lollie had made. It was delicious and nothing beats a bowl of hot chicken soup when you are cold to the bone and all you’ve eaten is a package of instant oatmeal 9 hours earlier. Still hungry though after the soup we headed into town to our favorite restaurant in Barrow (Arctic Pizza) for the second course.

Marc on “Top of the World”

All in a day at the “Top of the World”


Happy Birthday Lollie – January 27, 2011

January 28, 2011

Dr. Marc Frischer continues his blog postings on his current research expedition to Barrow, Alaska.

Day 6 into our trip, just past the mid-point. After spending most of the day in the lab, the first set of RNA samples have been processed and are awaiting shipment back to Skidaway.

One of the primary goals of our work is to understand the underlying mechanisms that allow bacteria to adapt and respond to a changing environment, particularly to changes in the nutrients available to them. To do this one of the things we’re looking at is the genetic expression of important genes involved in nutrient assimilation.  To get at those questions we need to look at their messenger RNA (mRNA), but because mRNA is typically very unstable, this is not an easy task.

To put some perspective on the problem, a typical mRNA molecule, if left alone, will degrade in seconds.  Much of the challenge for us during these studies is to get the bacterial mRNA stabilized so that we can analyze it.  Basically, that is what we were doing in the lab today, extracting, purifying, and stabilizing the mRNA from the bacteria we collected on our filters.

Zac purifying RNA

Besides working in the lab and getting ready for another sampling trip on the ice tomorrow, we did manage to enjoy the relatively relaxed day.  First off, I started by oversleeping, something I haven’t been able to do for it seems months.  Even though I missed breakfast, I think the sleep did me a lot more good than breakfast would have.  Finally, I seem to be kicking the cold I’ve been struggling with for the past couple of weeks.

Later in the day we enjoyed another beautiful sunrise.  The sun rose today at 12:27pm, 43 minutes earlier than on January 24th when the sun first rose.  The sun was visible for 1hr and 8 minutes today.

Marc watching sunrise

What’s really remarkable is how much it changes from day to day this time of year.  On the day we leave next week the sun will rise at 11:23 am.

This evening we were invited to a dinner hosted by Peggy Cowan.

Dinner at Superintendent Cowan’s home (Peggy is at the head of the table in the blue shirt)

Peggy is the superintendent of the North Slope Borough School District Board of Education and a friend of Savannah’s Joyce Murlless.  Peggy started her career in Savannah as a teacher at Oatland Island Wildlife Center. Joyce made the introduction for me and we jumped at the opportunity.  Peggy invited several local science teachers, other educators and planners, and Deb, Tish and myself for dinner at her home.  We had an absolutely lovely evening eating pizza and getting to know each other. We’re hoping that this will lead to some long term collaborations whereby we can contribute back to the local community.  Thanks for the hook-up Joyce!

Upon returning we celebrated Lollie’s 61st birthday.

Happy Birthday, Lollie!

The rest of the team had baked a cake and decorated the hut.  Lollie blew out the candles.  Happy Birthday Lollie!


Too Cold To Go – January 24, 2011

January 25, 2011

Marc Frischer continues his account of the challenges of conducting research during the winter on the north coast of Alaska.

Another balmy day in Barrow, as I’m writing it is currently 46 below.

Our day started with a meeting of the full logistical support team.

Discussing ice conditions prior to cancelling Monday's trip

The main issue of discussion was how cold it was and whether it was too cold to go out on the ice.  We had entertained thoughts of setting up our ice camp (2 tents, 3 holes in the ice, generators and propane heaters) today, but by 11:00 when it was still 40 below and after much discussion, our lead ice expert and native elder Charlie Hopson declared it unsafe.

Truly I was relieved.  Besides, the weather forecast is predicting warming through the week and since most of our team hasn’t arrived yet and our first actual sampling trip isn’t until Wednesday,  I decided that we have the luxury of waiting a bit more.

Anyway, Zac and I still have plenty of setting-up to accomplish.  So, instead of a trip on the ice, we spent most of the day continuing to unpack, setting-up our three work areas, and replacing the wiring on our submersible sampling system with Artic grade electrical wire.  Turns out that regular wire easily breaks at temperatures as cold as we’re experiencing.

Zac (r) and Lance Newyear (CPS logistics) rewiring our sampling pump

Later in the afternoon a few of the logistics support team took a ride out to the site to break trail, level the surface where we’ll set up the tents , and to make sure that the site was still suitable for occupation.  The trip went smoothly except that they discovered a crack developing in the sea ice close to shore.  If the ice was to dislodge from the shore there is a chance that our camp (and us with it) could go floating away into the Arctic Ocean.  Needless to say, we are monitoring this crack very carefully.  We shouldn’t forget that just because it is covered in ice, underneath the coastal Arctic ocean is still churning and can be a very treacherous place with strong and often changing water currents.

Meanwhile, Lollie and I took a little trip of our own onto the ice covered tundra to get a clear photograph of the sun’s brief appearance.  The sun was noticeably higher on the horizon today compared to yesterday.

Sunrise, January 24

Later in the evening the next contingent of our research team arrived.  From Tish Yager’s group Tara Connelly and from the Bronk group Quinn Roberts, Rachel Sipler, and Steven Baer.  Now we’re only missing three.  After getting them settled in we called it quits for the day retreating to our rooms to catch-up on other work and getting ready for tomorrow.  Or at least that was what I was going to do until the water went out in the building that the women are staying in.  Since water is delivered by truck to that building and there was nothing to be done until the morning, we quickly gathered some buckets of water from the lab so that they could at least flush the toilet a couple of times during the night.  No showers I’m afraid.

Tomorrow morning we’ll meet again with our support team.  Hopefully we’ll be able to set-up our camp.