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Research teams use a variety of modes of transport up in Ny Alesund. There is a dog team up here, and some people ski with pulks (sleds) for their gear; but the simplest and easiest way to transport the gear and samples to and from the field site is the skidoo. We keep the speed nice and steady at 30 kph. With the snow melting, there could be rocks exposed and patches of ice that could flip the skidoo or send it into a spin, so there's a need to be careful.
Fabien Drewes of the University of Innsbruck hacks away at the ice to try to get down to the soil to take samples for nutrient measurements.
This ice corer has a design very similar to a drill, it has a thread which runs around the outside of the hollow central tube which, when turned, draws the corer into the ground. The sample is forced into the central chamber so that once the ice corer is removed from the ground, the sample can be removed and analysed back at the base.
A typical day in the Arctic involves a lot of moving snow. In this case, moving snow to get down to the glacial ice to take ice cores.
Fabian and James empty out ice core samples into the sample bags. They are using latex gloves to make sure that the samples are not contaminated in any way and preserving the validity of the data.
Samples loaded into the box on the back of the skidoo. All carefully labelled and in sterile bags and sample tubes to ensure that there is no contamination and the science team can accurately state the nutrient and microbial quantities across the different sample sites.
Zarges boxes, labelled up. A typical scene from an expedition and a secure and reliable way of packaging samples both for processing at the Research Station and for transporting back to universities for further analysis. Zarges has become a bit of a generic term for metal boxes, a bit like Hoover or to Google.
View over the settlement of Ny Alesund. You can see the fuel storage and power station on the left and then the collection of national bases and accommodation towards the right. The small orange balloon is nicknamed ‘Miss Piggy’ and carries meteorological instruments.