In Memory of Ice Station
generally deemed the harshest of continents, demonstrated this reputation to us
today. As daylight broke in a cloudless
sky, we initiated science by deploying a CTD beneath 4 inches of ice that
formed last night. Despite the 20 knot winds and temperatures ranging from 20
to -25șC (-50șC with wind chill!), excited scientists scattered out on the ice to
build Ice Station Minke. The ice team set out to collect a series of ice cores
to investigate changes in composition of the ice structure, algal biomass and
microbial communities (bottom center photo).
Samples were collected despite the repeated freezing of ice cores to the
barrel shaft. Additionally, the ice crew
solicited help from the sealers, the penguin folk and the nutrient guy to
shovel two quadrants created to monitor how varying light concentrations effect
algal and microbial productivity (Top photo).
Bundled divers preferred the relative warmth of 2șC seawater to the potentials
of freezing air exposure, demonstrated by Karina
Johnstons frozen eyelashes (bottom left photo). After setting up transect lines under the
ice, divers used suction tubes to collect samples of phytoplankton growing on
the undersurface. Surfacing inside the
Scott Tent, Eric Hessel hands off his suction tube to
be carried inside before freezing solid (bottom left photo). With a solid day of science complete, folks
gathered on the bridge to watch the sunset and as it turns out, to discover a
large lead had opened near the Station.
The difficulty of studying a dynamic ice system is that it is dynamic. Consequently, we watched the harshest aspect
of our day unfold. The ice crumbled and
cracked, dislodged the ship and consequently, Ice Station Minke was
destroyed. We collected our gear off the
ice and made plans to find a new station first light tomorrow. Photos by Dan Costa (Ice Corers) and Kerry Claffey (Ice Station).