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BLOG: Svalbard 2015-Finishing in the field

Stephan connecting the borehole cablesStephan connecting the borehole cablesMe changing the radiation sensorsMe changing the radiation sensors
On Thursday we spent most of the day in the field, and got almost everything done. Julia and I changed the radiation sensors while Stephan and Niko finished with the temperature chain for Mr Moustache the borehole (see photo). I spent ages putting the cable inside a plastic tube, and then we buried the cable. Finally, Kathrin and Thomas came with a van to help us take all the rubbish back, which involved lugging big bits of wood and metal poles up a hill. We were quite ready for dinner when we got back.
Niko working. Stephan 'helping him'.Niko working. Stephan 'helping him'.Mr Moustache the boreholeMr Moustache the borehole
However, when Niko checked the data coming from the sensors he discovered that neither the radiation sensors nor the temperature chain were working. The next day the others went back to try and make them work, and I stayed in the office and did some model runs.
They managed to fix the radiation sensor but the temperature chain was still not working (it seems to be working now, but they have no idea why). I get the impression that this is normal when you are working in the field: you don't expect everything to work the first time. Rather like modelling, in fact.
A nice picture in the village. The red building is the bar on Saturday nightsA nice picture in the village. The red building is the bar on Saturday nightsJulia and Niko on the sensor-fixing tripJulia and Niko on the sensor-fixing trip
We were hoping to go on a boat down the fjord to take some soil samples, but this was called off because the waves were too big to land. The same kind of soil is found right next to the village, so we will make a pit there instead, but it's a shame we didn't get to go on our boat ride and see some more of Spitzbergen.
To make up for this, we went for a hike. First we went up to the glacier behind the Bayelva field site, and walked a bit on the ice itself. It was very cool in both senses of the word. The moraines are enormous. There are also lots of nice permafrost features: stripes and sorted circles, where the bigger rocks get pushed together in lines and polygonal shapes due to frost heave processes.
Stephan and Niko on the mountain.Stephan and Niko on the mountain.Standing on a glacier.Standing on a glacier.
Then we went to climb one of the mountains where apparently there is a way up. I wouldn't say it was really a 'way'. I also wouldn't describe so much as a mountain but more as a mountain-sized pile of scree. Anyway we got part of the way up and had a great view. There were also some pretty good fossils.
We got back in time for Saturday dinner, which is the special dinner of the week because everyone dresses up a bit and brings wine. After dinner the artist in residence showed some of her movies. I liked them, but admittedly they were quite strange - that's modern art! Then Julia made us some cocktails which we drank with glacier ice, and we all went down to the bar for the weekly party night. Lots of fun was had, and interesting things to drink involving tabasco sauce. Getting up this morning was a bit of a challenge.