Alert, 5 April, 2006
Received from Ron Verral and Trine Dahl-Jensen
Edited by Henrik Højmark Thomsen, GEUS
The Helicopters have arrived
4 April, 2006
Weather in Alert: -26, slight overcast, no wind (mid afternoon -15)
Twin Otter flight with fuel supply to the fuel cache at the ice camp. The three out at the camp seem to be thriving. Ron Verral and Jopee Kiguktak joined the flight and on the way back they were evaluating the ice conditions along the southernmost of the seismic lines stretching from the land and 200 km out in the Arctic Ocean. There are still open leads along the line. They are not a problem for the set up of explosions and instruments, but they create fog. Today there was hardly any wind, so it was foggy over the line. The reconnaissance trip was quite frustrating because the ice was covered by fog for most of the trip and we flew a lot of the time at 200 ft just to get below most of the fog.
In Alert we are still busy with the preparation of the equipment and the planning of the work. We send a few photos of the people in Alert to give you an idea about the life here. We have discussed which line to start with, and we have decided to start on the cross line running perpendicular to the submarine Lomonosov Ridge, although it is not the highest priority. This would give time for the high priority southernmost inner line to freeze up more, and the weather here to improve, and it would iron out the bugs in our procedures. Also the fuel cache at the ice camp is currently in an OK position for the cross line, and if we have to move it later, we can then move it to a good position for the other lines.
The movement of the ice camp has slowed down to less than 100 m an hour and turned south.
The blasters and drillers had a meeting with the two expedition leaders Trine Dahl-Jensen from GEUS and Ruth Jackson from Geological Survey of Canada, Atlantic to discuss the details of organising the work along the lines. They decided to use three teams, each with a helicopter. First the drilling team will fly out to pick a location and drill the holes. They also mark the sites, so that they can be found by the other teams. Here after follows the ferry team, who will bring out explosives, primacord, rope etc. to the sites. They leave a satellite beacon together with the equipment on the sites. The beacon is continuously sending its position to Alert, so that we all the time know the location of the equipment. Finally the loading team goes out. They load the charges and leave the site ready for blasting.
The helicopters arrived this evening, having spent the day coming from Resolute. It is certainly good to know that they are here and that we will soon be starting the experiment proper.
Today’s Geography and History lesson:
The Lomonosov Ridge lies about 1000 m below the sea-surface. This underwater mountain chain is 50 to 70 kilometres wide and stretches 1500 kilometres across the top of the world – from Greenland to Siberia. The ridge is named after Mikhail Lomonosov, an outstanding 18th century Russian scientist. He was born 1711 and studied language and philosophy in Moscow. From 1736 in St. Petersburg; appointed as professor in 1745. Translation of philosophical works into Russian, and publication of scientific and literary manuscripts. Lomonosov died 1765 in St. Petersburg.
5 April, 2006
Weather in Alert: -26, fog in the morning, some overcast, no wind (mid afternoon -15)
No flights out on the ice today. The weather was foggy at Alert in the early hours, and bad at ice camp all day with poor visibility. The ice camp now does synoptic weather reports at 00:00 and 12:00 Zulu (08:00 and 20:00) in addition to providing us directly with weather. The drift of the ice camp has changed. It is now drifting back to the east.
The helicopter pilots were briefed on our plans for the work on the line, and all who at some point will fly on the helicopters were given a safety briefing on how to behave around the helicopter.
We have also tested have many instruments, we can pack into the helicopters and continued the preparation of the equipment. We want to be ready when the weather improves. Now that the helicopters are here, the weather has become the chief worry.