Monday, January 10, 2011

Turret Nunatak

Friday morning (Dec 17) it is was clear but with strong winds blowing off the polar plateau. The forecast was for winds over 30 knots in the vicinity of Lonewolf Nunatak so we decided to head for the Turret Nunatak. The target site was in the lee of the nunatak so the thought was that the winds should be manageable there. So John and Bradon flew into our windy Ascent Glacier camp mid morning and off we went to the Ascent Glacier. As it turned out, this was an exceptional day with good weather (out of the wind), good geological samples, and extraordinary scenery.

On the way out from camp we flew over the elongate rat-tailed moraine separating the Ascent Glacier (on the right) from the Argosy Glacier (on the left). In the background is the confluence with the Marsh Glacier.

A view of the confluence of the Argosy and the much larger Marsh Glacier.

A view of the Marsh Glacier further downstream.

Confluence of the large Marsh Glacier (background) with the even larger Nimrod Glacier (foreground). Mountains of the Queen Elizabeth Range in the distance. By the time the Marsh joins the Nimrod, some 35 miles or so from the Ascent Glacier camp, the ice is on a rapid charge to the Ross Sea Ice shelf. The glacier ice is heavily crevassed here indicating it is under great tension as it falls away to the ice shelf.

Crevasses on a portion of the Nimrod Glacier.

The Twin Otter landed on the blue ice and taxied close to the Turret Nunatak. All blue ice from hear so it was crampon time. We readied the gear for the day of collecting.

The pilots quickly wandered off over the blue ice into the distance.

The steep rolling hills of blue ice made the crampons essential.

John said the clasts came from “that a way+. Dylan peers carefully into the distance.

The moraine was on the edge of very cool steeply rolling hills of blue ice.

Slope of blue ice in the foreground.

Beautiful blue ice setting for the Twin Otter.

The ceremonial gathering of the clasts.

Tanya heads to the plane at the end of the day.

Our fearless pilots John and Bradon.

Confluence of the Marsh and Nimrod Glaciers.

Frozen melt pools in the Nimrod Glacier ice.

A small glacier flows slowly into the raging Nimrod.

Flow lines around the Kon-Tiki Nunatak in the middle of the Nimrod Glacier.

Broken up ice and crevasses in the lower Nimrod Glacier.

Back-eddy flow into main stem glacier.

But when we returned to our camp, the wind was blowing, just as we left it. So, I decided to build a wind wall in front of my tent to prevent reduce further drifting.

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