Washington State Magazine

Fall 2005


Fall 2005

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In This Issue...

Features

Where Have You Gone, Edward R. Murrow? :: Edward R. Murrow '30 broadcasted reports from a London rooftop during the Blitz. He confronted Joseph McCarthy on national television. And he admitted "an abiding fear regarding what...[radio and TV] are doing to our society, and our heritage."

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Interview: The Battle Against Ignorance : An Interview with Bob Edwards }

Diabetes: It's Still Up to You :: Although Mary Ellen Harvey '58 knew about her type 2 diabetes for nearly 20 years, she wasn't managing it very well on her own. That changed when she joined thousands of other diabetics across the country in a diabetes management trial.

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Recipe: Tortilla soup for diabetics }

How Coug Are You? :: Would you paint your airplane crimson and gray? Or drive hundreds of miles to wave the Cougar flag at a non-Coug game? Or keep a concrete cougar in your yard? Well, how Coug are you?

WSM Special Report :: Drinking on Campus

How WSU is helping to change the culture of alcohol

More Thinking, Less Drinking :: "Everybody knows this place as a party school," says a student about WSU. But what everyone knows is starting to change. by Hope Tinney

Our Drink :: Toren Volkmann and his mother, Chris Volkmann '70 have co-authored a book about their family's experience with Toren's alcoholism. What they learned through direct experience dovetails with what counselors and researchers are discovering at WSU and beyond. by Hope Tinney

Two chapters from Our Drink: Detoxing the Perfect Family, by Chris Volkmann '70 and Toren Volkmann. (PDF: Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader or another PDF reader.)

Panoramas

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Bringing couture to campus: A gallery from the 22nd Annual Mom's Weekend Fashion Show }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: If clothes could talk...but they do! What WSU students are wearing on campus. }

Departments

:: FOOD AND FORAGE: The spice of life

:: PERSPECTIVE: Thinking about Washington State

:: A SENSE OF PLACE: Bounty on the bluff

:: SEASONS|SPORTS: I never said thank you.

:: SEASONS|SPORTS: Legends of the Palouse

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story and video: An affair of the heart :: In his documentary film, Legends of the Palouse, Jeff McQuarrie '98 seeks to answer the question, "What is this love affair we have with our school?" Includes an exclusive video excerpt of Junior Tupuola and Rod Retherford from the film. }

Tracking

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Story: Elegy: May 18, 1980 :: In memory of a friend and the geologic event that marked her passing. by Bill Morelock '77 }

Cover: Edward R. Murrow '30. Photography from Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections.

Tracking

Home run at the bottom of the world

by | © Washington State University

When I was completing my last semester at WSU 10 years ago, I never imagined I would end up in Antarctica, providing computer network support for the U.S. Antarctic Program. I work on the RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP), an icebreaker that is contracted by the National Science Foundation for scientific research in Antarctica. The ship spends several months a year in the waters and sea ice surrounding the world's coldest, driest, and most remote continent.

I am currently working on a science cruise called SHALDRIL-Shallow Drilling Along the Antarctic Continental Margin. Core drilling from a single, unassisted icebreaker has never been done before in the icy waters surrounding Antarctica. The variable environmental conditions with the weather, ice, and sea currents make it a risky endeavor. The drill could break if the ice or currents move the ship a significant distance during the drilling.

The purpose of SHALDRIL is two-fold: to collect core samples from the sea floor along the Antarctic Peninsula and to test the drilling equipment. Much valuable data is stored in the layers of sediment that lie beneath the sea floor. Cores can reveal information about the history of glaciation in the region and its impact on climate, ocean circulation, and biological evolution. This data has never been accessible until now.

A group of U.S. scientists came up with the idea of doing a SHALDRIL cruise more than 14 years ago. Many years of planning and generous financing by the National Science Foundation have brought SHALDRIL from an idea to a reality.

The NBP underwent major renovations to prepare for this cruise. In 2003, the NBP was modified to accommodate the drill. A dynamic positioning system was installed to help keep the ship on station while the drill is being operated.

The drilling equipment on the ship includes a derrick weighing 43 tons, plus various other heavy pieces of equipment and machinery. Altogether, the drilling package weighs more than five times the normal load carried by the ship.

This raised questions about the stability of the NBP-especially when she encounters rough seas. Approximately 275 tons of a cement-like gel was pumped into her ballasts to promote stability.

Sixty-three people are sailing on SHALDRIL's maiden voyage. Seventeen are members of the science party. Approximately half of those onboard are ship's crew. Eight people manage and operate the drill. The rest of the people, including me, provide science support.

The NBP handled herself well during the three-day crossing from Punta Arenas, Chile, to the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. I admit I was a little nervous about the stability of the ship. The stretch of ocean we crossed-the Drake Passage-is one of the roughest stretches of ocean in the world.

Drilling operations at the first site were successful. We drilled in Maxwell Bay, along the west side of the Antarctica Peninsula. The crew drilled for two consecutive days, during which the water surrounding the ship stayed mostly clear of ice. The weather remained calm. The scientists were thrilled to obtain core samples to a depth of 108.2 meters. As one scientist put it, it was a "home run on the first pitch."

Despite the drilling victory early in the cruise, SHALDRIL has faced her share of challenges. Many of the sites the scientists want to drill are covered with sea ice, making it impossible to drill. Additional difficulties include continuously changing weather and difficulties with drilling through tough glacial sediment. Even with these roadblocks, many of the scientists have remained optimistic: SHALDRIL is proving to be a valuable learning experience for future drilling cruises.

Day-to-day life on the ship stays busy and ever changing. Sometimes when I'm working inside the computer lab, I feel like I am working in a computer lab at a university. Then someone mentions a flock of Adele penguins is frolicking off the starboard side of the ship, and I am reminded of where I am.

Julianne Lamsek sailed on the first SHALDRIL cruise in April 2005. She graduated from Washington State University in 1995 with degrees in broadcasting and business. When she's not working in Antarctica, she enjoys rock climbing and freelance videography. Julianne lives in Seattle.

Categories: Earth sciences, Alumni | Tags: Antarctica

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