Ted Daeschler Checks In from Antarctica – Part 2

By Ted Daeschler,
Academy Paleontologist and Vice President for Collections and Library

Well, the day is almost here!

Weather permitting, we’ll be climbing aboard a Bell 212 helicopter tomorrow morning and heading off to our first field site. We are heading to the vicinity of Mount Fleming on the western margin of the Dry Valleys. The area is at about 6,000’ elevation. Weather there at this time of year (there happens to be an automated weather station there) looks to average 15°F with winds averaging about 15mph. We’ll set up camp there for 8-10 days, then move to another camp or two, depending on time and discoveries.

Aerial view of exposures near Aztec Mountain, the planned location of our 2nd field camp.

Aerial view of exposures near Aztec Mountain, the planned location of our 2nd field camp.

Our field equipment provided by the US Antarctic Program is weather tested and solid. Safety is the first priority, so we are not exactly travelling lightly. Our cook tent weighs 90 pounds alone. Our sleeping bags are rated for -50°F. We are in the capable hands of a “mountaineer” assigned to our team. He has extensive experience in such conditions and will be keeping us safe.

We are all anxious to get out onto the rocks and begin the fossil exploration. We have high hopes that, in time, we’ll find interesting fossil material from the Aztec Siltstone. We have a great team, good tools and and lots of experience (although not in these conditions!) It is very exciting to think about what discoveries we may make.

It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to post to this site for several weeks, but I look forward to reporting back in January!

For more on Ted’s trip to Antarctica, check out these links:

Ted Daeschler Checks In from Antarctica