Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Victoria University Antarctic Research Expedition Science and Logistics Reports 1972-73: VUWAE 17

[VUWAE 17B - Part 1]

On the evening of October 24, Blackwood and Keys with one Johnson toboggan and two Nansen sledges travelled north from Scott Base to Cape Evans. At the tide crack south-east of Tent Island, a lengthy toboggan stop was caused by a split fuel pump diaphragm. The following day and a half were spent sampling over Cape Evans, where the only reported (Keys, 1972) Antarctic nahoslite deposit was found in 1969. After a replacement Sno-tric toboggan was brought from Scott Base by power wagon, we proceeded north and sneaked past Cape Barne on a narrow strip of sea ice to Cape Royds. A blizzard kept us hut bound for the next three days and caused the sea ice to break out early, cutting off our return route. This, and snow-covered ground, meant that October 31 was devoted to a reconnaissance of an overland route to Cape Barne and either the sea ice south of it or Cape Evans. This was found to be unfeasible owing to the slope of the terrain, hard ice, and the lack of icecleats and power of the toboggan.

The ablating blizzard snows revealed interesting snow derived salt deposits, as we worked the next two days at Cape Royds, before a second storm arrived. After this, a day's work was done before we were transferred to Cape Evans by helo. Here, we collected a second Johnson toboggan, and with this field tuned by Blackwood, lengthy day sampling trips could be made easily. With this toboggan we covered all the exposed ground from Cape Barne to Turks Head and the Dellbridge Islands, from our base at Cape Evans. On November 8 we finished the sampling at Cape Evans in blowing snow which introduced the start of another two day storm. On the afternoon of the 11th, still in poor conditions and with D, Greenwood (Canterbury University) and K. Mason (Field Assistant) in convoy, we returned to Scott Base, spending most of the last hour of the journey towing the Canterbury University Gnat, which had a broken drive chain.

The following four days were spent at Scott Base, prevented from sampling by bad weather. However during this period the VUWAE crates were unpacked, the sleeping bags extracted, unfrozen and dried, expedition members' personal gear unfrozen and dried, and the VUWAE shed cleared of equipment which was placed in the extended VUWAE shelves in the hangar. Much of the preparation for the following VUWAE programmes was done during this period. It was also during this week that the delegates to the Antarctic Treaty Conference were at Scott Base. Blackwood and Keys were involved for a day guiding the delegates over the nearby snow caves.

On the afternoon of November 16, Keys and Mason travelled out to the craters near the Scott Base ski field, but were forced to return, after only a few hours' work, by a whiteout. However the 17th was fine and was spent sampling over the Hut Point Peninsula's exposed ground north of Castle Rock.