Sunday, 3 November 2013

Hello to everyone,

It has been a busy last week for myself & Ribanna with lectures pretty much from 9-5 everyday along with the report and term project work building up!! its also getting harder to get out of bed when its still pitch black at 7:30 in the morning, the light is really closing in and although its around (in a blueish grey dusk colour) at 10 am it is dark again by 1330 now. That being said the light on the mountains in the evenings and the silhouettes of them at true night are incredibly beautiful, fig 1.

Figure 1 - Night time view of Nordenskioldfjellet from Sakofargen

In Marine geology we have been working with some programs which have been really cool tools in plotting cruise tracks on a a map. We spent about three days getting familiar with the program GMT through a Linuxs system, learning the different commands and how to manipulate the settings - all of which was surprisingly good fun as you could get some really nice results, figure 2.

Figure 2 - Map of our marine geo cruise track, core points (the yellow stars)  and CTD points (black spots) created by me :D

We have also been given some term projects for Marine Geology, the class has been split betweens either sediment core analysis and bathymetric projects. I have a bathymetric data set which i need to map and process with Fledermaus (a program good for 3D manipulation of data). We are to reconstruct the past ice flow extent and dynamics using morphological analysis of the submarine landform assemblages. I have been designated Palander & Wahlenberg sytem,  which is a fjord system south east off of Nordauslandet ... you can check it out on this cool online map
So i should be getting started on that shortly.

 Ribanna and i also had a wee field excursion looking into snow physics in snow pack which was a pretty cool afternoon. We had to take the band wagons out across the now frozen river system in Adventdarlen to a Pingo located there which usually has a fair amount of snow around it. The band wagons, figure 3, are pretty awesome machines, although in the back it can be fairly bumpy due to the terrain - all great fun though!

Figure 3 - The Band Wagon! 

The air temperature whilst we were working out there was around -15-16 degrees so we had to wrap up well wearing UNIS scooter suits, boots and mittens along with some woolens. first we had to make a snow face, figure 4, that exposed the layers within the snow for analysis. We had to measure the length of the core and then divide it into sections based on the visible layers (it could have been divided into many layers but for our learning purposes it was divided into 5 or 6).
Figure 4 - Snow physics wall
The analysis then conducted on the sections was temperature, density of snow pack, hardness of snow deposit, snow grain size and shape - similar to the analyse that would be made on a sedimentary core.

The hardness was measured in a fairly rudimentary way - could you push your fist into it? four fingers? one finger? a pencil? or a sharp knife? this corrisponded to the Swiss Rammsonde measurements. you can see my fist attempts in fig4. needles to say after that my hand was freezing and my mitts went straight back on and a bit of a run around the area to warm up again was also needed. Various people in the group did each measurements and then we compiled them into a basic log of the snow pack core, figure 5.
Our professor, Carl also demonstrated the layers that are found in snow pack
using a back light to highlight them,figure 6.

Figure 5 - Field log of snow pack.
Figure 6 - Carl Edge Boggild - snow layers

Figure 7 - Arctic hydrology and climate class wrapped up warm for our snow physics excursion (Photo courtesy of J. Skaar, 2013)
Friday gathering was last night and we had a cool snow board film - the art of flight - also a few beers which my big luxury English breakfast helped cure this morning!Today Allan (who you all know) and Greg from our geology class have organised a Lord of the Rings marathon projected at UNIS for everyone which has been epic.... obviously all the extended versions.... long but great fun day!!!! Also will inspire us for our kitchen to kitchen party as our floors theme is going to be Lord of the Rings too!!

Applications for next year are in to stay here and it is now a really painful waiting game! I originally applied for Arctic geology - The tectonic and sedimentation history of Svalbard along with Arctic biology - populations and ecology however these don't really fit in the time table well and there have been around 73 applicants for the geology courses. Thus i was advised to withdraw my AG application and go for both biology courses instead - I just hope I get in as I am having such an amazing time up here (as much as I do miss everyone at SAMS) now I am just keeping my fingers crossed.

That's all for now from me - I hope everyone at SAMS is well :D

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