AMASE 2007: Collecting Samples
I woke up in a panic this morning thinking I was still in DC an hour
before my flight to Oslo with my bags still unpacked. Phew! I was relieved
to wake up any find myself already here. Heh.
The weather here in Wahlenberg Fjord is still snowy, windy and cold. It
looked like a clear beautiful day when I first woke up but now, an hour
later, the clouds have moved in and I can hardly see the shore. Marilyn
has asked me to go collect "green goo" samples (plants) that she spotted
yesterday up a steep slope under a bird colony.
Our collection party was great company, consisting of me, Ivar, and Steve.
A polar bear (the third one this year!) had been spotted on the shore
earlier this morning so the collection party was kept small to increase
defense against possible bears and move quickly around the steep slope.
Our hike up was very slippery as snow continued to fall on the flat basalt
and sandstone slope. Per Marilyn's directions, we collected plant and soil
samples in a transect across the gully below the bird colony. We had taken
nearly all our samples when we realized that we had misgauged which gully
was actually below the birds and discovered the next gully over was even
greener. We had extra samples bags and so decided to continue along the
slope collecting essentially twice as many samples. After the first gully
we had stopped for hot tea and lunch sandwiches. During this time the snow
stopped falling and the clouds began to clear. By the time we finished
collecting and started hiking down the hill, the skies cleared and we had
a gorgeous view over Wahlenberg Fjord; light dancing off snow covered
mountains, glaciers and all.
After we returned to the ship, the Lance pulled up anchor and sailed to
the other side of the fjord. We are meeting up with a group of geologists
from the Polar Institute who have been camping on the shore for the last
three weeks. Hans, Steelie, Torbjørn, and Ivar went over to greet them at
their camp. The sun is out and it is warm and bright enough to wear
sunglasses and blog from the deck. Only my fingers are starting to get a
The four geologists came on board for a while and got a tour of the AMASE
operations on Lance. They stayed for dinner and then returned to their
camp. We were pretty surprised when they declined showers and an evening
in the hot tub. Their hesitation didn't stop us, however, as we crammed 21
people into our little tub and watched their little cluster of tents on
shore through billows of steam.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center