Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ice Part II

Spring has started. The days are now longer up here then down south. The sun stays are up till past 8pm. but the temperatures are still cool, peaking at 10 plus in the sun during the day and dropping to a similar level below zero at night. Work has dropped to a pace where I can start to catch up on my writing which I do miss, I am in a phase of catching up with posts that should have been out a month or two back, but the ice theme is worth revisiting as it has changed considerably since the first ice post in the heart of the deep freeze.

The last few months have had me compiling snow and ice features and guesses as to the forces drive them. The snow up here is very dry and fluffy, when the sun is low and weak and the temperatures consistently below zero, wind controls the forms taken by the snow. The wind shaped snow brings to mind a desert of sand dunes and camels not caribou and snow. Spring has shifted the balance from wind eolian forces to thermal forces.

Now the snow and ice are retreating, in a sublime way. The dry air and low temperatures lead to much of the water simply vanishing in to thin air. This sublimation gives some snow an hairy texture on the south facing sides. I noticed that some snow dunes had the crests facing southward have withered away leaving a skeletal frame work.

In Ice, I introduced you to the pet glacier which had made some attempts at eating our core. That meal was removed with much more force then a roman would ever apply with a feather, and it has not eaten well since. Sadly the glacier is melting. In its death it has moved away form the runny pahoehoe of the deep freeze to anastomozing streamlets and a odd mix of mechanical and thermal erosion. The silt form the saws adds to the illusion of fluvial hydrology, and makes it a gooey mess.

Because of the cool temperatures ice only melts consistently in the sun and so it will pool in low points, which happen to be shady, leading to large patches of ice in the land scape. This is actual a pain as much refreezes just out side the step going into the camp building.

The ice road to here is closed and the traffic gone but the ice is still thick on the lakes and thicker where the road is as a result ice roads will have flooded margins or as I like to think of it we are waiting for the side walks to freeze.

And because I can't resist ice up close, taken just a few meters from the above photo. I find ice interesting, it could serve as an analog to some mineralogical systems yet accessible with out having to take a trip to the center of the Earth.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Northern Industrial

This post is really about mid February and but I was too tired from many long days to write. Things are now much closer to there native pace out here. That being me and my room full of rock and a full Ipod. In February that was not the case and the pace of ever thing was off. For one thing the camp was very full, I had mentioned before that we were hosting crews related to ice road, on top of that we had also brought in a crusher to large scale sample of the stuff brought up form under ground a few years back.

I did one night shift of sampling for that project, it was cold long and dull, the second shift was called off when I was found that the rest of the pile was frozen solid.

Northern Lites In Exile II

Northern Lights In Exile II

I was stuck In Kelowna, there were good reasons for that, specifically I went shopping. Now normally I only need a day or two spending to get my fix of pure materialism. However this break has had a special diversion, a car was being shopped for. This shopping comes as a side effect of working which is saved money. Since I have not been able to get my cash to breed in captivity using it for material ends became a option. In an unintended effort to rack up owed favours I managed to talk Darren in to bringing is brand of bad ass wisdom to my shopping trip, that and I needed some one to drive me around town. Now Darren could occupy several posts but that is out side the theme of this blog. It is enough to say that eh entertaining and multitalented welder and is always up for a few beers on a Friday. In a departure from tradition I stayed quite and let him do the talking, this saved me form my self and my money. Had I gone solo I would either have spent too much money in the wrong place or chickened out. The result of that day was 1999 Subaru Legacy, at a price that was at the upper end of my back of the envelope budget, but of better quality then I had expected. Granted I had in mind a truck, but I know this class of all wheel drive car can fill in for light truck in most of the areas I plan to use it in.

Because the dealer had to replace the clutch and some other minor repairs I was forced to stay in town slightly longer then planned. As a result I had an fun few days living off of pub food and beer. The second half of that time off was spend out in Nakusp. I had several good days of burning slash, where I reduced a few 8 foot tall eye sores into a 2 foot tall smoldering masses. Later as I was sipping a beer in the Kelowna air port I called the folks to discover that in possibly the absence of my skills a slash fire had gotten out of hand and the fire department was called in. No one came to any harm nor were any buildings harmed, but its frightful non the less.