Friday, December 27, 2013

A new field season (2013-2014)

I'm sitting in the airport in San Francisco waiting for my next flight. My journey began in Detroit this year, about 9 hours ago. I will end up at McMurdo Station on Ross Island, a tiny island off at the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf nestled up against the coast of East Antarctica, not quite 78°S. The island is actually the world's southernmost active volcano, Mt. Erebus. We will be continuing our work at the McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research site ( this season. In the McMurdo Dry Valleys, scientists have been studying snow, ice, glaciers, geology, nutrient cycling, soil biota, lakes, and much more for decades. Most of our work this year will be in Taylor Valley. This is an ice-free valley that is one of the driest places on earth. It is a polar desert, and it is a very strange and beautiful place. There are some semi-permanent camps where scientists stay in this valley when they are conducting field research.

I'll write more about the Dry Valleys and our research soon, as well as post pictures. But in the meantime, see pictures from past field seasons right over there -->