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Friday, 23 September 2016 17:32

Open top chambers on Collins Glacier, King George Island

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As Mel said in the last post we visited Collins Glacier to set up Open Top Chambers (OTC). It is interesting to see how the moss and lichens are colonizing the ground as the glacier retreats. The moss beds are amazing, in some places it looks like a river of moss cascading down the hill.  There are a lot more moss and lichen species here than at Casey so we are learning new ones every day.

 At the morraine line there are just occasional lichens but as you move further away from the glacier there are mosses and one grass species Deschampsia as well as more and more lichens. The glacier ice melts and forms streams and water falls which help to sustain the lush mosses.  They get really boggy in places, here I am trying to take a sample from a wet patch without stepping on the moss which damages it and takes a long time to regenerate.

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While we were working, we heard huge crashes as the glacier carved ice into the sea.  You can see the ice showering down from the side of the ice sheet and then it ends up washed up on the beach causing a problem for the penguins and us getting in to the beach to land the zodiac. It was a beautiful day and apart from the penguins, ice and whales it could have been like a typical January day at the beach in Oz.

 

At Collins there is a small hut which has a kitchen where we made lunch whilst we were working. Plus a toilt tent. The hut has four bunk beds for people to stay in. Todd and Angelica stayed overnight to finish off installing the chambers. These huts are also really important if the weather turns bad, as emergency shelters.  Mel ate a huge saucepan of pasta, to keep her strength up for all the work and so we wouldn't have to take it back to the station as rubbish.

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Read 1516 times Last modified on Friday, 23 September 2016 17:32
Andrew Netherwood

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