Another Sunny Svalbard Day
The weather was glorious all day - sunny and mild with a light breeze. An absolutely perfect day to be out on the fjord.
Bringing Up the Mud
Today I had a chance to observe the "gravity core" team in action. Daren, Rachel and George have really perfected their method for getting core samples of the bottom sediment, so Julie and I swapped boats so I could take some photos of their work.
Our team has been using two different methods to sample the mud on the bottom of the fjord. One, which you may have read about in Liz's journal yesterday, is the "box corer". The box corer takes a sample of the surface mud. The second method is the "gravity corer". This method takes a narrow cylinder of mud up to about a meter long. This method allows you to see the layers of mud which can tell a great deal about how the release of sediments has changed over time.
Rachel and Daren are interested in looking at these changes which is why they took on the gravity coring for their projects. George has graciously been helping the two of them out as he's awaiting the repair of the echo sounder to work on his own project.
I was really impressed at the teamwork between the three of them. They each take on a role, know how and when to do what is needed, and communicate quite clearly with each other. The end result is that they have been able to get over 20 gravity cores in the past week. (Ross and Julie are indeed impressed by their work.) I've stressed the importance of good teamwork throughout my journals, but with a process as involved and physically demanding as the gravity coring, it's essential to getting good data. The device weighs around 40 pounds and it's a really awkward thing to get in and out of the boat. You don't want to have to repeat a bad core if it doesn't work properly!
I will let the pictures and captions tell the story of this process, which Rachel, Daren and George perform like a well-oiled machine:
A busy day for icebergs!
Because it was so sunny all night and into the morning, there was a lot of iceberg calving activity on the glacier margin today. All morning we heard the cracks and rumbles of the glacier, and we encountered several large events. For one we were close enough that Rachel had to work fast to pull up the gravity corer in time for the calving wave. Here's the video I managed to shoot of the calving event and the subsequent wave:
A Night Hike
Tonight Liz, Rebecca and I took a night hike. Well, if you can call a hike in full sunlight a "night hike". We started around 8 pm, and got back at 9:30. I'm still not quite used to the 24 hour daylight!
We rode bikes out to the airport and then hiked for while over the tundra. We walked past a bunch of permafrost rock sorting features. These are amazing – due to freezing and expansion of the permafrost, rocks are sorted into ridges. Some of them are such regular shapes that you could swear they were left by some prehistoric people (they weren't of course – this is entirely due to movement of the ground due to freezing and expanding). I've been thinking quite a bit about the power of water to break down and move rocks due simply to the cycle of freezing and melting – but more about that on another day when I'm not quite so tired!