Much value can only be given to what is inside the plastic vials and bags by someone who has been intensively trained. The items came from the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica and the scientists will have their hands full for a long time. A college senior said that mud can tell you a lot.
A group of people from a college and university was selected for the one month expedition in Antarctica that was funded by the National Science Foundation and this college senior was able to participate in it. Actually, these schools regularly take part in research cruises of all sorts.
Aboard a research vessel, the group left Punta Arenas Chile in early February. It was on the east of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Larsen Ice Shelf, where they first stopped and it was an unfamiliar place.
The location has not yet been explored in the past. Using sonar to measure the depth of the ocean, the boat moved slowly. Every part of their exploits was videotaped by the students and researchers who also collected water and sediment samples from the deck. For these samples, about a decade is needed for everything to be analyzed.
From the amount of water it holds to the composition they determine from the mud, all of these will help them see its possible relation to global warming. For the students, this trip was an ultimate blessing. Seeing things for what they really are, according to a student, is made possible by this.
Planning to study about global warming in graduate school, this student is a native of Scotland. There is a student who will be studying at the school of Oceanography in a university next year who said that it would be alright if she had to spend the rest of her life on a ship.
They fared well in the extreme weather conditions they encountered in the Southern Hemisphere. Somewhat similar was Upstate New York. Much more intense than the cold days was the sun that rose at 430 am and set at 930 pm.
Looking out the window was not as easy when the sun was so bright. Science occurred 24 seven even if civilization was lacking over there. Student work shifts ran from midnight to noon, or noon to midnight. From sleeping on the bunk beds to movie marathons in the group lounge, students on off days had something to do.
But the students had some regulations to abide by. Should something serious occur, a senior must be told. One senior student was roused to check out a newly discovered surface volcano and to visit with an emperor penguin. You don’t want to sleep at all, said the Dryden native.
Everyone favors such encounters. A trip to Vega Island was the best moment for her during the trip. It was unbelievable for her to be in a place that only a few people, about 10, were able to go to.
The span of the trip led to five weeks of missed classes for the students. During the trip not much work was done in terms of their schoolwork for they had busy schedules and their vessel dealt with several environmental perils. They experienced a harder time because of the ship always moving.
There was not much communication allowed for the people back home. This journey brought together the students and faculty because of the close quarters and the lack of distractions. It was said by one student that escape was impossible. The bleak area and harsh environment will really bring you close together.
Not only were accompanying paperwork prepared for the customs officials but every kind of specimen they brought home to the United States was placed inside coolers. 323 digital pictures and five film rolls were also brought by one student.
For another student who was part of the expedition last year, she decided on embracing the environment. She said that you need firsthand experience. There are times when being conscious of something is enough.
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