layer cake

When the glacier’s face calves, we get a new look at the inside.  To give you an idea of scale here, the cliff face is several hundred feet tall.  Twenty-foot ice javelins?  Yes please!  (I was almost a quarter mile away when I took this photograph, and you’d be an idiot to get much closer.)  See all those horizontal stripes?  Each layer took about 150 years to form.


Ice Day

When I was a young girl, a snow day was a rare and glorious thing.  Here at Palmer Station, it seems like every other day is a snow day – or, more specifically, a snow-and-ice day.  It’s springtime, which apparently means:  wind.  Whiteness.  Generally unpredictable yet predictably cold weather.  The winter sea ice broke up just a few weeks ago, sending vast fields of brash on its merry way.  Every few days, though, strong winds (30+ knots) blow the brash ice right back into our little bay, leaving us quite stuck.  Most of the scientists on station rely on little rubber motorboats called Zodiacs to do their field work, and yup:

…doesn’t look like these puppies are going anywhere anytime soon. If the wind doesn’t change and the ice stays like this for another week or so, the sea will be completely cemented over.  Rut-roh.  But here’s the silver lining:  we’ll be able to walk across the ice!  WHICH WOULD BE AWESOME!  At that point, we can – no joke – take a chainsaw into the middle of the bay and cut a hole for the sake of (a) science, and (b) spying on seals.  In the meantime, there’s not a lot to do, so I’m spending the day exploring and working on my Halloween costume.