The wind has picked up today, so it feels much colder than the temperature would indicate. We have had a dozen days here in the mid- thirties that have been quite nice because of the warm sunlight and the lack of wind. Today just feels yucky out there. While I did stay home yesterday to write and watch movies, I was also nursing my knee after dancing the MCL into wet spaghetti New Years Eve. I do feel better and have most of my legs strength if not full range of motion. Not bad enough to keep me out of work, but I am clearly not darting about like my usual self. That directly feeds into my subject for today. The terrain that caused me to slip and twist my knee.
I was fortunate to have my camera with me when a series of events happened just outside of out building here at the VMF Supply. One of the boilers broke down and needed to be welded. To do that they had to drain it. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 gallons of water had to be drained out, and was vented onto the road behind the building. As the water ran I took a series of pictures to illuminate the point I was making in an earlier blog about the conditions of the roads here at McMurdo.
You can see that the top surface of fine powder was washed away to reveal the slightly larger rocks that where to heavy for the flow of water to move. As the terrain changed and the water gained speed it was able to carry away larger pebbles and score the earth deeper. Single tire treads that had narrowed a channel for the water in places, focused the water energy to move even some large stones. I thought it was curious to see two things. First, that the soil around the flow was so dry that it was absorbing the moisture as fast as possible making the stain look much wider than the actual flow of water had created. Secondly, the flow itself lasted for over two hours, and the release of 200 gallons seemed significant to me, but you can see in the later pictures that the flow never made it all the way to the bay. The moisture was sucked into this dry soil more quickly than the flow could travel the four hundred yards to the coast.
I have a deep respect for our maintenance workers running the graders around here. It is a daily effort to keep these roads smooth and safe. And in particular when I am out driving with Elvis, the security of my load is paramount. I must rely on the smooth roads to do my job well. While you are looking at the pictures, try to be aware of the variations in height of the mounds around the facility. I was again fortunate to have a passerby in the photos to give you some better perspective of the roads, the berms and the wildly differing elevations around base.