Frozen lake expedition

Frozen Lake Kilpisjärvi and Mount Saana

In the morning we meet our IGB colleague Georgiy and his team consting of two Russians from Irkutsk: Konstantin and Ilja and Joonathan from Finland. They are all lake physicists interested in the dynamics of the water under the ice.


Today's task is to install some devices on the ice of Lake Kilpisjärvi. The lake is frozen with ice thickness about 50 cm at the moment. I am allowed to join the other physicists to go on the lake. First task is to fit the warm and safe winter working suit, then we take the snowmobile and I take a seat in the sledge where we can store equipment. It is a bumpy ride with two Siberians and a Kasach......

Winter working suit

Dashing through the snow....

Our team disappearing in the snowy desert

First job is finding the place for the installations. Yesterday a hole was drilled through the ice and we are supposed to drop some underwater measurement devices there. However it was snowing and storming all night and its not an easy task. It is somehow spooky when you here someone with a Russian accent yelling "We cant find hole" while you stand on the ice several km away from shore....well simply drill a new hole then. You drill 4 wholes as corners of a square with a hand drill, use a martialic looking saw to cut beween the holes and then use sort of pliers to pull the core out. Finally you can drop your measurement devices and say "do swidanya (good bye)" as the hole will freeze, the device will measure automatically, lo the data and you need to wait until the ice thaws to recover it....that means in June up here :D

Our lab for today

Drill small hole

...done

Connect the 4 holes to make one large square...
Devicce to measure particle flow

I was thinking of placing an SQM (a light measuring device) somewhere out here....however in this ice desert there is nothing to mount it. Well nothing to mount it? No there is the ice core serving as a landmark in te icy desert. I grab my big expensive high quality cable ties and want to mount the SQM. "Snap" frist cable tie broken, "snap" second cable tie broken.....The Russian (Siberian) lake physicist lough "this cable tie nje rabotajet (not working), too cold...its rubbish". Hmmm...another lesson learned.

What to do next? Well we have the ice saw and I use it to cut a step into the ice pillar, then use cheap Chinese cable ties (they last...) and finally use lake water (that will freeze immediately) to align the ice SQM towards the zenith. 
Precision engineering?....

..or is it ice sculpturing?

First SQM on frozen lake?

I will probably not win an ice sculputuring competition but I guess it is the first SQM installed on a frozen lake (see paper about SQM on Lake Stechlin a dark site in Germany here).

Then it goes back to shore for a well deserved dinner...

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