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Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 1970-71: VUWAE 15


page 16


On the morning of January 17th Kohn and McPherson were flown to Mt. Suess in the MacKay Glacier area. Originally Kohn and McPherson had planned to manhaul some 8 miles from near the mouth of the Frasier Glacier to Mt. Suess. Because of Kohn's accident earlier on in the season not as much time was available for Part F of VUWAE 15 and it was decided to study the Beacon-Basement contacts in this area using helicopter support on the put-in flight to Mt. Suess. After studying outcrops at Sperm Bluff and outcrops south of Pegtop Mountain in the Clare Range it was decided to land at Pegtop Mountain for about an hour to examine Beacon Supergroup sediments; the helicopter not being able to land very near the Sperm Bluff outcrop due to much surface snow and crevassing while the outcrops to the south of Pegtop Mountain were quite steep and largely covered with snow, we camped on the edge of a little lake at Mt. Suess and measured a section there the next day in calm but cloudy conditions. There was much water at Mt. Suess in the form of small lakes and swiftly flowing streams.

On the morning of January 19th we were shifted to Wheeler Valley. From our camp there we covered all the lower Beacon rocks in this area. We collected algae and salt samples from this area, as we did from all localities we visited during this phase of the expedition. On the morning of January 23rd we were transferred by helicopter to Vashka Crag flying via McKelvey valley in order to carry out a reconnaissance of the Olympus Range and Balham Valley. Four sections were measured in the Vashka Crag area. We were unable to reach a section 3 miles north-west of the snout of the Upper Victoria Glacier because of large patches of ice with smooth, sloping surfaces which we considered dangerous to cross. However a section was measured about 1 1/2 miles west of Sponsors Peak. Our camp had to be shifted once at this locality because unusually warm weather caused our camp-site to be flooded. On the morning of January 30th, after two days waiting (due to a radio blackout) for our next helicopter shift, we were transferred to the Olympus Range setting up camp between Mts. Aeolus and Boreas. On the way to this site we stopped for two hours at Mt. Jason in the eastern part of the Olympus Range and measured the most complete section in this area. The next day we went over to Balham Valley and measured a good basal Beacon section. We arrived back at our camp after being out for 14 hours, having climbed 800 m from McKelvey Valley and having experienced quite high winds in Balham Valley. The next day we were pleased to have a mail delivery from Scott Base. Two West German TV cameramen photographed us running out to greet the helicopter in our long-johns to receive the mail-bag and rockboxes on board. The rest of our time in the Olympus Range was spent measuring sections at Mts. Boreas and Aeolus. During the last two days at this site our work was hampered by white out and falling snow and on February 2nd we had our first tent day due to bad weather since coming into the field. It was still snowing and 8/8 cloud on February 4th when we were amazed to see our pick-up helicopter piloted by Jim Brandau appear through page 17 the mist. We returned to Scott Base after picking up another passenger at Vanda Station.

It is interesting to note that during our time in the field weather conditions were generally cloudy (between 4/8 and 8/8) and that winds were generally calm. It was only in the last three days in the field that we experienced any heavy snowfalls.