Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Apologies for my long silence. A week ago my computer started flashing this symbol:
instead of working properly. I’m told that my hard drive is shot and my data is lost… including the 5,000+ pictures I’ve taken here on Svalbard and two half-completed term projects. I remain convinced that if I pay the right person the right amount of money they’ll be able to recover the pictures. Right? Morale of this story: back up your computer. A lesson I’m learning the VERY hard way. New computer is on its way though, so I should be able to share more pictures once it arrives.

The Volcano that is disrupting the rest of the world did not spare Svalbard. We’ve been without milk, eggs, yogurt, produce, and meat for a week now (crackers and peanut butter for breakfast, anyone?) The volcano is non-discriminatory in its cancelling of flights: everyone from visiting mothers to David Attenborough is stuck on the island. No seriously, he is. I have a new favorite teacher-excuse for cancelling class: “BBC wants to interview me.”

Beyond adventures with computers and volcanoes I’ve been filling my time with lots of coursework and skiing (as per usual). This weekend found me hunched over underneath a glacier installing pressure sensors in meltwater. Rieperbreen is by far the most challenging ice-cave I’ve worked in so far… very technical climbing involved. One section was so tight that I almost didn’t fit through it (and my professor didn’t at all). Installing rock bolts by hand (rock hammer and screw, whee!), a dying headlamp, one broken crampon, and no knee-pads made it even more of an adventure, but one I’m likely to repeat in the future. I am beyond excited about studying glaciers.

Plans beyond Svalbard have finally been solidified: I’ll be spending the coming summer in Washington DC doing a geoscience public policy internship with the American Geologic Institute. I’m not quite sure how I got selected for this awesome internship, but I’m looking forward to learning more about how geoscientists and lawmakers interact on the hill!! Check it out: http://www.agiweb.org/gap/interns/internsu.html


Auntie Kathryn said...

Hi sweetie,

I had a feeling that the volcano was impacting Svalbard. I'm sorry your down to peanut butter and crackers for breakfast ... I suppose it could be worse ... raindeer patties?!?

Ethan told us that you are one of only 3 students to get your AGI internship. Well done my dear! I'm really proud of you! Though to be fair, I'm always proud of you for the wonderful person you are, independent of your amazing accomplishments.

Thanks for the update ... and one teensy word of advice ... in addition to not eating yellow snow, I wouldn't eat gray, ash-covered snow! Aren't I a goofball?

Love you to bits,
Kathryn :-)

Tom Birdseye said...

Sorry to hear your cautionary computer tale, Kiya. But glad to hear you're still out there ferreting around in glaciers. I can identify with your excitement. Don't you just love how the sinuous icy beasts talk to you! Creak, groan, pop.

Jordan said...

Ooh, sorry to hear about your computer! Well, if you can't find anyone up there to help you recover everything, bring it home and I'll do it for free :-)

Sounds like all your adventures continue to be awsome though. Keep writing :-)