Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 5 December 2018: The Final Stretch

"The last few days have been very nice with mild temperatures (-7°C to +2°C), sunshine and little wind."

"We used this time to complete many of the tasks on our "to do" list including drilling additional holes in the lake ice to determine ice-thickness and depth, collecting sediment samples from the deepest region of the lake in the northern basin (161 meters), obtaining soil samples in areas above the lake where one finds water wicking from snow/melted ice into adjacent soils (a terrestrial analog of slope-streaks on Mars), maintenance of the climate stations at Untersee and in the nearby Aurkjosen Cirque, deployment of a new climate station at Lake Obersee and continued investigations of lichens (and a few mosses) on the slopes and mountains surrounding the lake."

Last night low clouds moved over us resulting in overcast skies and the winds have picked up, sometimes gusting to 40 knots. We expect today and tomorrow to be windy with a few flurries, but we are not expecting a large storm. Yesterday I downloaded and looked over the Untersee climate data for the first few days after our arrival, and confirmed my earlier estimates that the winds that destroyed our camp just after our arrival were frequently gusting to just under 50 meters/second - almost 112 MPH! Hopefully we will not see winds that strong again during our remaining time here at Untersee, but one can never be certain.

We are in our final stretch now, our departure has been set for 14 Dec at which time we will make the traverse back to the ice-runway at Novolazarevskaya Station. We will begin packing the camp on the 10th, so we only have another 4-5 days for science before we must start heading home!

Cheers
Dale"

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