jeudi 28 janvier 2010

19-24 January

The last week has been so busy that it was difficult to find time and energy to write the news. Now, I am trying to make a small synthesis of our activities.
We have installed all the OTCs with their microsensors and data loggers.

The OTCs on the Teltet nunatak

Zorigto reading the data loggers on the Teltet nunatak

We have visited the Vengen ridge, the Teltet nunatak, the small "japanese" lakes near Kanino-tume Peak near the Ketelersbreen glacier, the tertiary moraine at the beginning of the ‘dry valley’ between Ketelersbreen and the Southern slope of Vikinghoda massif.

View from the Vengen moraine in the direction of the Kanino-tume peak and the Ketelersbreen glacier (note of Annick: this peak is really impressive. Last year, when we went there with the Japanese geologists, the weather was grey and foggy, and when discovering the peak, it looked like a middle-age fortress garding the passage to the valley, with something frightening about it)
In the Vikinghoda massif, we have found a quartz block on a ridge, measuring 5x5 meters approximately. If we look at the place where the block is entering into a thin layer of sand, there is a green layer of photosynthetic organisms.

The Petrelnutten windskoop

We have visited all the granite oucrops in this area until Petrellnuten (last nunatak behind Pingvinane).
When we come back, there is always a small emotion to see the characteristic shape of Utsteinen raising above the ice.

It appeared that the diversity of algae in Ketelersbreen was only due to the fertilisation by birds living on Kanino-tume Peak. In fact, this area is not good for further studies. We didn't installed OTC there because there were no biofilms, except for the cryptoendolithes.
There are clear differences between the gneiss ridges with nonstable moraines and low number of biofilms on one side and between the granite nunataks with stable surfaces and a high number of biofilms on the other side.
Probably, the distribution of biofilms can be explained by the stability of substrates (granite vs. gneiss) and the low growth rate of biofilms. Except granite, there are 2 other types of rocks which are stable. It's Tonalite and Cyanite, but their outcrops are quite far and it is not possible to go there this year.

We measure currently the daily cycles of fluorescence measurements on the ridge. As they were difficult to interpret, I have sent them to Bart Ghysels and Fabrice Franck who study photosynthesis at the University of Liège. As we will have all meteorological data that was recorded by the meteostation here, we'll be able to compare them with temperature/humidity that we measure on the surface of rocks.
Cheers, Zorigto

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