Lake Vanda is unlike any of our other sample sites as there is no permanent camp or sample hut there. Because of this, our stay at Vanda lasts just one day and we do all of our ice drilling, water sampling, and instrument casts in that time. This year we had a member of the science support staff join us at Lake Vanda. This is referred to as a “morale trip” for the staff member and allows them a chance to see parts of the continent that they may not experience otherwise and it is helpful for the scientists to have an extra pair of hands! Here’s our Lake Vanda team drilling a 10 inch sampling hole through the ice cover.
Rachael prepares one of the instruments, called a fluoroprobe, to be cast down through the water. We stayed relatively warm by using one of our helicopter boxes as a wind block.
Most of our time at the lake is spent sampling water. Here the team prepares the winch cable where we will attach our Niskin sampler. It is interesting to sample water without a sample hut. Many times the connections on the Niskin sampler will freeze shut. We have multiple methods to deal with frozen sampling equipment including warming items inside of our jackets or use of a hammer. :)
We also measure lake water depth and ice thickness at our sample site.
Lastly, Wei hooks up the helicopter boxes packed with our sampling gear to head back to the main camp at Lake Bonney.
Upon our return to Lake Bonney we filtered the lake water through different types of filters which we will ship back to the U.S. lab for further experiments.