Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Preparations in the Field

December 18, 2007

In the afternoon on December 18, we made our way to the local ski hill, which sits at the base of a glacier. The goal of this field experience is to learn about the local setting and how it compares and contrasts to conditions we will see in Antarctica. Craig and Aaron gave overviews at various spots along the way in order to identify both terrestrial and physical geological information including specific traits of plants and grasses, the U-shape of the valley of a glacier area and the distribution of plants. In small groups, we also practiced using the GPS monitors and marking points throughout our journey on the mountain and to practice using the technology. We also had instruction in the use of a compass, both in the field with maps and without maps. This was practical in the sense that it allowed us to look for ways to keep oriented in areas that we have never visitied or where reference points may be difficult to determine. While nearing the top of the hill, the groups began to practice the specific field experiences to see exactly how much time would be involved in the set up, collection and tear down. This rehearsal time was critical as a group will in reality have between 1 and 1 ½ hours at a given site from which to collect data. This was especially critical for the terrestrial, aquatic and physical sciences groups.

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