Wet work

Wednesday 21st March. By Miriam Jackson

We’ve now got another person in the tunnel. Gaute Lappegard from Statkraft arrived on Tuesday evening. He did both his masters and his doctorate on subglacial processes based on the results of experiments in the subglacial laboratory, one of several students to use the lab for their thesis work. He his here to help with the experiments.

Gaute soon put Mathieu and Coline to work clearing out the boreholes up to the ice-rock interface that will be used in the experiments. Pierre-Marie will be using these boreholes to pump water up to the glacier bed and then see what effect this has on the glacier. Mathieu and Coline found out it was wet work and were grateful for their raingear and even an umbrella!

Pierre-Marie used the morning to become acquainted with the dataloggers that are used in the subglacial laboratory, and that have their own programming language. Miriam managed to get the internet connection in the laboratory working again. It has been down the last few days and it has been necessary to stand at the tunnel entrance and plug directly into the internet there to communicate by e-mail, an uncomfortable and cold ‘workplace’.

There is also some preparatory work for surveying in the tunnel, as the positions of seismic stations need to be measured. It is becoming more and more common to use GPS instruments for such measurements, but this depends on communication with GPS satellites, not possible in the tunnel, so more traditional surveying methods will be used.

Meanwhile, the Americans got to leave the confines of the tunnel. They want to test some radar equipment they have developed that can be used to detect crevasses buried by snow. It ccould be used on Engabreen and they even have plans to use it in Antarctica. They leave early as the weather forecast for later in the day is not very good with a lot of rain forecast. Miriam also got to leave the confines of the tunnel for a mandatory free day out of the tunnel.