Tom Sharp, Dec. 27
It was Christmas Eve for ANSMET G-058 and the wind was really blowing. You could hear the drifting snow hitting the side if the tent. I had trouble getting to sleep, listening to the constant sounds of small ice crystals impacting the tent next to my head. I awoke to the sound of my tent mate checking in with McMurdo and making coffee. Soon, Jim, our science lead, was there discussing the plan for the day. It was clear, cold and windy with drifting snow. The decision was made to search a moraine in the morning and then return for lunch with enough time to do an outreach event and get the Christmas dinner started. Christmas had been postponed because our resupply flight was delayed until Dec. 26. We were excited to collect meteorites on our Christmas morning and then celebrate with special Christmas dinner. Moraines are regions of a glacier that accumulate rock, either along the edges or at the ends of ice lobes. The moraine that we searched was one of a sequence of end moraines. Searching moraines is hard work because there are so many rocks to scan over. The temperature was -17 C, about normal, with a wind that blew up to 25 knots. Under these conditions, you can’t expose skin to the wind. We walked upwind to the top of the moraine and then searched back down with the wind at our backs. We found and marked 15 meteorites and decided to quickly collect them before returning to camp. As we collected, people kept finding more meteorites. The best of all was a beautiful black and shiny sample that may be an achondrite. By the time we were done, our Christmas morning had given us 19 meteorite presents. We were excited to do some outreach and share our adventure with the public. With help from home, one of our team members had posted something about meteorite hunting in Antarctica on a web news site. This generated a lot of interest and questions. At 1:00 PM, we did a question and answering session from the ice with some help from the spouse of a team member. We all gathered in the science tent to answer a series of questions about our expedition and the importance os meteorite research. After the outreach event, we started preparation of our Christmas dinner, which included a turkey. We all prepared dishes and met back in the science tent at 6:00 PM. We began the festivities with mulled cider and appetizers. The turkey took a bit longer than expected, but that was fine. We enjoyed being together telling stories in a warm crowded tent that smelled of turkey and cider. The turkey dinner, with the usual trimmings, was fantastic. After dinner, we exchanged small Christmas gifts from each other and from friends of ANSMET. The evening ended with a couple of fine deserts and some friendly games of Yahtzee. What a great Christmas indeed.