Dale Andersen's Field Reports

Dale Andersen’s Astrobiology Antarctic Status Report: 12 November 2022: Trip From Lake Untersee To Lake Obersee

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Dale Andersen
November 12, 2022
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Dale Andersen’s Astrobiology Antarctic Status Report: 12 November 2022: Trip From Lake Untersee To Lake Obersee
The traverse marked in Blue shows today’s trip in the area around Lake Obersee. Dale Andersen sent this message from: Lat -71.331525 Lon 13.453918 Elevation: 599.37 m

Hi Keith

Good day of work at Lake Obersee today. Mostly a recon to go up and see how the traverse would work out.

Unfortunately due to the glacial outburst flood that took place in early 2019, the route we normally would take as we enter onto the lake has been changed dramatically with a large channel (4-5 m deep and wide) in areas and little snow. The steep banks of blue-ice were too difficult to cross safely so we parked our snowmobiles and walked the last couple of kilometers to the lake, and then several more to cross the lake and head up a ridge on the east side where we had placed several dataloggers last year to record air and ground temperatures. We made it back to Untersee later in the afteroon with a good day of work behind us.

I learned a short while ago that our weather will change tomorrow with snow and wind moving in. We could see winds hitting 30 m’s (~65 mph) but maybe will luck out and it will be a bit quieter. We have the camp ready for it and we will take another look tomorrow morning as well. And of course, we are always checking tent lines and securing anything that might otherwise blow away!


Keith’s note: According to Wikipedia: “Lake Ober-See (German: Obersee, “Upper Lake”) is a permanently-frozen glacial meltwater lake lying between Sjøneset Spur and Mount Seekopf in theGruber Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica. The lake was discovered by the German Antarctic Expedition under Alfred Ritscher, 1938–39. Lake Ober-See is located a few kilometers to the northeast of Lake Untersee (German: Untersee, “Lower Lake”), a larger lake but similar in most respects to Lake Ober-See, and the best-studied lake in the region. Divers have dived in Lake Ober-See to study its microbial communities.”

Map of Lake Undersee – Lake Obersee. The traverse marked in Blue shows today’s trip to/from Lake Obersee. The red traverse shows the traditional arrival/departure track used every year to visit Lake Untersee.

Image source: Glacial lake outburst floods enhance benthic microbial productivity in perennially ice-covered Lake Untersee (East Antarctica), October 2021, Communications Earth & Environment 2(211)

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) 🖖🏻