Marianne Mader, Systematic Team, Jan. 1, 2012 Larkman Icefield Camp, Beardmore Region, Antarctica
Happy New Year to all those at home! Yesterday, we enjoyed a New Year’s Eve celebration by gathering in one tent and making pizzas in our camp stove (see photo)! What a treat! Today, we went out searching the blue ice again on our snowmobiles and were rewarded with 12 meteorites – a great start to the New Year!
We’re now just over midway through the season, and given that this is the time of year to sit back and reflect; it seems appropriate time to take stock of our efforts so far. To be blunt – it’s been absolutely amazing! We’ve been fortunate to have great weather- with only 1.5 ‘tent days’ to speak of, in which we couldn’t search for meteorites because of an Antarctic blizzard. To date, we’ve collected a total of ~230 meteorites with many samples larger than a grapefruit (see photo of one of the largest samples collected so far)! We’ve had some difficulties with our snowmobiles, but they were all resolved under the guidance of Shaun Norman, our mountaineer guide. Our team of eight, many of whom did not know each other before the trip, has gelled and we now operate as a well-oiled-meteorite-hunting-machine!
I still get excited and recharged with each new meteorite we find – we all high five each other, and congratulate our G-058 team (our science team number designated by NSF). Sometimes I’m so focused on looking down at the ice, I forget to look up. As it’s a time of reflection, I’m stating it here…my new year’s resolution is to remember to “look up” from time to time and soak in the scenery. In the words of Francis Spufford, editor of The Antarctic, An Anthology, “Sit for a while: there are mountains in the distance to which the best response is hush. Take a long, silent look at the treasures of the snow”. (See photo of Shaun enjoying the mountain scenery).