Dale Andersen's Field Reports

Dale Andersen’s Astrobiology Antarctic Status Report: 14 November 2022: Water Quality Profiles

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
Dale Andersen
November 14, 2022
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Dale Andersen’s Astrobiology Antarctic Status Report: 14 November 2022: Water Quality Profiles
YSI Exo2 datasonde
Dale Andersen


The winds calmed last night around 9-10 pm. The more destructive gusts we had been experiencing the previous 18 hrs or diminished substantially to levels our tents can easily deal with (25 – 30 knots).

Unlike the night before, we were able to get a good night’s sleep again since we no longer had the howling winds baning on our tents. When winds are 50-60 knots or more we need to be outside quite often monitoring tent lines, gear etc. But all in all we managed without any serious issues or loss of tents or gear.

Today we will continue to have low clouds and very light snow but the winds are calm so we will head out to knock off a few research tasks on our to do list.

We made another water quality profile of the deepest part of the lake (~170 m) in the north basin using the YSI Exo2 datasonde attached to a 200 m long cable that allowed us to monitor the sensors during their decent to the bottom. Viewing the data as the sonde moves through the water column ensures each sensor has stabilized before moving onto the next depth. It is a bit slow going when making a survey with 5 meter intervals, so the lack of wind was a bonus!

Later today we will obtain a sediment core from the same location in the north basin for pore water analysis and other samples, and we will deploy diffusion samplers that will allow for the collection of dissolved gas samples in the water column.

The current forecast suggests we could see substantial accumulating snow (~10-12 cm) over the next day or two which could also lead to ground blizzards and whiteouts at Lake Untersee. We hope this will not be the case but we will see what we get! Conducting field research in remote, hostile environments requires a great deal of patience with the understanding that the local environment is in control, largely dictating what we can accomplish over the course of the field season. But we are up for the challenges and that is always a part of the learning process too!


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) 🖖🏻