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November 28th-29th, 2013

Miers Valley (Dry Valleys)

by Steve Sweet


Thursday (the 28th) was not nearly as exciting as it was on Wednesday; we had a day in the office to work on preparations for the upcoming samplings later in the week.  American Night at Scott Base was so popular tonight that we could not make it on the shuttles and it was too windy to walk over.  A quiet night following a rather quiet, but productive day.  

Friday (the 29th) was a different story as we have another trip to the McMurdo Dry Valleys today, this time to the Miers Valley.  We headed out on a Bell 212, which is a larger helicopter so we were able to take a couple of seasoned station workers out on what is referred to as a “morale trip”.  Roxanne Gissler and Char Locke were both wonderful women and we were lucky to spend the day with them and share the experience.

The Miers Valley was less developed compared to the other two sites we visited in the Dry Valleys; the only structures were a polar haven and a tent on the lake where scientists were working when we passed overhead.  We landed beyond the lake to collect samples in the area that was occupied by tents in a previous season.  It took a little while for us to find the location, but when we did there was little evidence of any human occupation with the exception of a rock that had some lines cut into it and a small stack of rocks.  We sampled the area and enjoyed the scenery of the area while awaiting our helicopter for the return trip.

A rock with cubes cut out

Terry looking back toward Miers Lake and the ice shelf

Some cool wind-carved rocks (ventifacts)

A granite ventifact with a view

Andrew enjoying the valley

A panoramic view of the valley flanked by the Miers and Adams Glaciers

Andrew and Mary walking in front of Adams Glacier

Looking up valley along Adams Glacier

Looking toward the valley from Adams Glacier

The helicopter was a little late picking us up so we had a chance to use the Iridium satellite phone to check on it's whereabouts. We eventually made it back in time to process the samples before eating dinner.  Another quiet night for the B518, a day in the field can be exhausting.

"Where is the helicopter?" asks Terry


A view across the ice shelf from the helicopter

Some interesting ice and water formations on the ice shelf