Written by Ken Sims.
After all the requisite training we are now sampling the volcanic rocks on Ross Island. Yesterday while the other team members were completing their environmental training, Phil Kyle and I flew out to Lewis Bay (Plate 1 and 2) to sample the lava flows from Mount Bird that are exposed in cliffs around the bay. These lava flows erupted from Mount Bird, which is an older volcano that is almost entirely covered by ice.
Unfortunately, we could not land at any of these sea cliffs because the sea ice below them is too thin and rotten and therefore unsafe to land on, and they cannot be accessed from above because they are overhung by large calving glaciers. There were many ice cracks and as a result, lots of seal holes and of course seals. This is an unusual year for sea ice in the vicinity of Ross Island. We are clearly too late this year to find favorable conditions to land and safely undertake sampling in this area (Plate 3).
As a result, we changed our objective for the day and flew across the bay over to the sea cliffs below Mt Terror where we started working on our planned transects up the north and east ridges of Mt Terror. Overall it was a very successful day and we collected some key samples for our study (Plates 4 and 5).
Weather providing, tomorrow we (myself, Erin, Paul and Dan) are flying back to Mt. Terror and will start to work our way up the East Ridge which has numerous cinder cones and lava flows which have never been studied. The forecast looks great!