I have never been this dehydrated in my life! I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think is that I can't have my usual cup of morning coffee. I turn my head to the side when I walk by the water fountain. I'm thirsty all the time... But I am TERRIFIED of having to go to the bathroom in the field!!! Did I mention how cold it is here? Or how many layers I wear daily??? There are so many details in field work that you have no control over... The weather. The wind chill. The site itself... Check out the video I made prior to my trip - a trial run of all of my layers. This is what I go through twice each day!
Today we went to two sites again, one before lunch and one after. The morning one was a peat polygonal. We dug one snow pit in the wedge between the peat. The snow there is deep with an ice core underneath. Look up peat polygonals online and find out what will happen to them as the climate continues to heat up. What will happen to the peat and what will that then do to the climate? (Part A of today's challenge)
We then did two snow pits on top of the peat itself, on either side of the wedge. On the peaks the snow was only about 6 cm deep! Actually the shallow pits are more difficult than the deeper ones! It is a challenge to measure the density and hardness of the layers when they are so thin.
After lunch we went to a wooded area. My group's first sample site was between several trees. One person started digging and two of us started coring. The core sampler is 150 cm tall, which is about 5 feet. When I pushed it into the snow I almost did a face plant! It went down 137 cm! You can imagine how long it took us to dig to the bottom of our pit? We actually had to dig steps into the snow because other wise we couldn't get back out. And then we had to take temperature readings every 5 cm! Wow...it was a little different than our morning site!
Oh, that reminds me of one of your questions! One of you asked why we take so many core samples. In science, the more samples you have, the better your results. You will be able to see trends more clearly, AND you will be able to see mistakes, or outliers, more easily. If you have 100 samples and one of them is totally out of range of the others, you can be sure it was a mistake. (Maybe some untrained volunteer did not know how to use the tool.) If you have only five samples and one is really different, you may think that it is a normal occurrence. Think of that when you are doing your field research! The more times you go to your site to collect data, the easier it will be for you to make conclusions when you analyze your results! See how I look out for you? :)
Part B of your blog challenge for today is to create a hypothesis about snow layers. In one of our pits, the layer closest to the ground was not very dense, with lots of air in between the layers. It was about 10 cm thick. Above that was a more dense layer with smaller snowflakes, about 14 cm thick. Above that was a thin layer of very dense, almost ice-like, snow...maybe 1 cm thick. It was topped with 1 cm of light fluffy snow. Create a hypothesis about WHY the layers had different densities. What could have been happening as the snow came down, as time went by, etc. Remember, the bottom snow is the oldest. :) Create a diagram labelling each layer, with your explanation next to it to turn in to Ms. Duffy. Respond to me with bullets explaining your layers, with the bottom as Layer 1, working your way up to Layer 4. This challenge is due on Friday. Talk to you tomorrow! Please come with some good questions for me!!! :)