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Norwegian-American Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica

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Chinook Drives Again!

by Tom Neumann — last modified 2008-12-16 19:04

Today did not bring the calmer weather we had hoped for, and the wind stayed around 20 knots all day. However, there was a big step forward today: the completion of the repair of the first vehicle, Chinook.

Location: Camp Winter, 86.80S, 54.42E
Elevation: 3151m

Weather: -34C, 21 kts

Just after lunch, Chinook backed out of the workshop module, and Sembla was ready to pull in and take the empty space.  The new gearing and drive line seems to be working well, altough Chinook has had just a short test run.  The real test will come when we attach some sleds and find out how things work under load.

Hopefully, that will happen tomorrow. We are optimistic though as all indications are positive, and we are all very pleased to be moving on to Sembla.

In science-land, Zoe and I set up a wind break against the 20 knot winds to dig a snow pit and get ready to collect an ice core.  With some assistance from Glen, the wind break went up without a hitch, unless you count the clove hitches we used to tie it all together (a little knot humor there, sorry about that, it's been a long day!).  We excavated a snow pit 2.25 m deep, about 50 cm wide, and about 3m long, with some stairs in the back to allow one to climb in and out.  It didn't collect too much blowing snow, and we are careful to keep a tarp over it when were not using it to keep the snow out.

[Some of you may not be familar with the units we've been using.  A meter is just about a yard, so our physical elevation of 3151m is equivalent to
10,337 ft.  For temperature, a typical conversion is degrees C mutliplied by
2 (or 1.8) plus 32 to get degrees F.  So our -34 C today is -29F, and the -52C wind chill is equivalent to -62F.  Brrrr!  Lastly is the wind speed, 21 knots.  A knot is 1 nautical mile per hour.  A nautical mile is just over a statue mile, so 21 knots is equivalent to about 24 miles per hour, or about 39 kilometers per hour.]

26 November

Chinook backs out of the workshop to try out the new gearing. Photo: John Guldahl

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