Dale Andersen's Field Reports

Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 15 November 2017: Deploying Instruments

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Dale Andersen
November 15, 2017
Filed under
Astrobiologist Dale Andersen Antarctic Status Report 15 November 2017: Deploying Instruments
Lake Untersee
Dale Andersen / inReach

Dale Andersen sent this message from: Lat -71.332844 Lon 13.453746 on 15 November 2017 11:29:14 AM EST: Hi Keith: We had another productive day with good weather here at Lake Untersee. Our skies were clear and with the exception of a couple of hours, the winds were light which made working outside on the lake much easier.

This morning and afternoon we deployed diffusion samplers in the two basins of the lake. Essentially these are small tubes that have been placed at various depths between the surface and 160 meters in the deep basin, and between the surface and 100 meters in the shallower basin and they will be used to sample the various dissolved gases in the lake’s water column. We also conducted a profile of the deep basin using a Conductivity, Temperature, Depth and Light logger that provides information regarding light levels within the lake, along with conductivity, and temperature in the water column.

Tomorrow I will do the same for the shallow basin at the south end of the lake, and we will begin to take samples of the water in order to measure nutrients, cations, anions, stable isotopes etc. Data derived from these measurements and samples will inform us about the history of the lake and the microbial ecosystem found beneath the thick veneer of ice.

We have much work left to do and in the coming days we will begin working in the small dry valley adjacent to Lake Untersee – a valley that once was the site of another ice-covered lake that has since dried down completely. We also plan to dive beneath the ice of Untersee to document and sample the benthic microbial mats, primarily cyanobacteria, that are present.

Dale Andersen sent this message from: Lat -71.332844 Lon 13.453746

FYI, enclosed is today’s forecast – looks like we may see a shift in the weather this weekend – we are not too distant (less than 100 km) from Novo, so our general weather patterns, while not exactly the same are similar. We tend not to see as much drifting snow here, but our winds can also bring us whiteouts….

Novo Station/Novo Runway/Maitri:

TODAY, mostly sunny, easterly winds 15-20kt.
TONIGHT, clear skies, south-easterly katabatic wind is temporarily increasing to 20-25kt until the morning hours.
THURSDAY, clouds in mid- and upper levels, first longer sunny spells, increasing easterly winds 20-25G30kt/drifting snow.
FRIDAY, clouds in different levels, small risk of light snow in the afternoon, easterly winds 20-25G30kt/heavy drifting snow.
SATURDAY, broken/overcast by clouds in different levels, at times light snow, easterly winds 25-30G40kt/blowing snow.

All for now, more in a day or two, cheers, Dale

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻