I have finally arrived! After many airplanes, a terra bus, McMurdo Station, a helicopter Lake Hoare Camp, and another helicopter I am finally settled in at our primary hub of activity – F6 Camp. Located on the beautiful banks of Lake Fryxell, this glorious two-room hut will be home to the MCM-LTER stream team, and other more transient researchers.
We have one room for cooking/hanging out and another room for laboratory work. Thanks to the good folks at McMurdo Station, we were set up with lots of delicious looking food to keep us going while we are out here. Unlike my experiences at Toolik Field Station, in northern Alaska, F6 is D-I-Y. We make all our own meals, and keep the camp running by completing a long list of daily chores. But when the work is split amongst myself and two other teammates – it’s not so bad. I’ll further elaborate on camp life in a future post.
Today was our first day of field work. In brief, the stream team is responsible for maintaining a suite of US Geologic Survey (USGS) gage stations established in 1994, here in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. A “gage station,” basically monitors the discharge of a stream through time. Discharge is the volume of water passing through a cross-section of stream, per unit time. Although this sounds simple – it’s not. There are many streams running throughout the Dry Valleys, which requires us to cover lots of land on any given day. We utilize ATVs, helicopters, and our feet to get from site to site. Also, to put it simply: things break. Trouble shooting and fixing broken stuff often becomes the focal point of our job. Again, I will use future blog posts to explain how we measure discharge in greater detail.
It’s getting late, so for now I’ll leave you with some photos. Enjoy! ~ Adam