2. Field report

Picture from 31 March shows the buildings at the airstrip in Alert. The large building second from the left is the Spinnaker building, where we are doing all our work. The picture is taken from the sea ice at Dumbell Bay near the station. The ice in the foreground is 6-ft (2-m) thick. Presumably, it started to form early in the season, and it never moved out of the Bay. So, that’s how thick undisturbed ice will grow during one winter season. It’s not going to grow much more. The ice is really quite flat. The undulations that you see are just wind-blown snow drifts (sastrugi). Photo: Ron Verral.
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Picture showing John Boserup testing out his small ice auger on the sea ice near Alert, 31 March. Photo: Ron Verral.
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Picture from the ice camp, 2 April inhabited by Jørgen, Mike and Greg. The camp is located around 300 km north of Alert on the frozen Arctic Ocean. The weather is not too good. Photo: Ron Verral.
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Alert, 2. April, 2006
Received from Ron Verral and Trine Dahl-Jensen

Edited by Henrik Højmark Thomsen, GEUS

Full speed on the preparations

Ice camp is now in operation with the three inhabitants

Preparations for the ice cap continue. Every day we get another couple of Twin Otter loads out onto the ice. We always plan to send out three loads, but every afternoon the fog drifts in and makes the third flight dangerous. However, here the 1 April the weather does seem to be improving in Alert. We have a big Polar High sitting on top of us, and each day is bright, clear and with a temperature around -30 degree C.

The ice camp site is around 300 km north from Alert, and it is presently drifting off toward the west at a steady nearly 5 km per day. You might wonder how we know the camp’s location considering that we don’t have people out there to report it. Well, we have a ‘beacon’ at the camp that determines its location by GPS, and then, through the magic of modern technology, sends its location back south where the latitude and longitude are placed on a Web site. We access the web site at Alert, and presto, there it is.

Computers and communication equipment are running, and people here are working hard to check the 150 seismic recording boxes and the blasting equipment, which will be used on the ice. And close to the station the ice drill equipment is tested on the sea ice. The equipment shall be ready for drilling holes in the ice for the explosives. Jørgen Skafte, Mike Gorveatt, and Greg Middleton will be the people out at the ice camp, and they keep themselves busy by making sure that everything they need is being readied.

To day the 2 April, Jørgen, Mike and Greg were installed at the ice camp, and the small camp is now inhabited. The weather in the camp is not too good. Grey sky, low clouds, temperature -28 degree C and wind 15 km/t. The first priority was to set up the tent, get the heater running and start up the radio. The ice camp is still drifting west, but the drifting has decreased a little during the last 24 hours. There are still large leads in the ice, and it is difficult to find a place south of the camp to land the Twin Otter. However the leads are at some locations closed by wind drift, and it looks like the are beginning to freeze over. With people living on the ice, we can now get weather reports from the ice camp. It will help the pilots on the Twin Otter better to know the conditions there, when they are approaching for landing.

The three helicopters are still delayed in transit to Alert, due to bad weather further south. They are grounded in Pond Inlet.

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