Soil Lab Party!

Only a handful of returning students are still here at the North East Science Station. The Core and the rest of the students are up in the tundra, working on their projects. Although historically being sent to the tundra is a bad thing, I can’t help but feel a little jealous as I pull yet another tiny tin of soil out of the oven.

But this tin has a present: One data point.

Specifically, weighing this little tin of soil that’s been sitting in the oven for two days tells me how much of the soil’s weight was made up of water when I sampled it.


Weight of Wet Soil – Weight of Dry soil = Weight of Water

I have 23 more of these to pull out of the oven. In the excitement of finally pulling in results, the lab doesn’t seem too bad after all. In fact, with only three of us sharing the space, along with three German students, we’re working at a breakneck pace.

Not that there haven’t been bumps in the road, sometimes literally- We blew tires in two of the station vehicles in one day, the same day that we had to call off a round of afternoon fieldwork due to the blazing heat… After finding out that a laser, integral to gas analysis for Sam, was not functioning…

Nevertheless, work goes on. In the field and the lab, the Polaris machine chugs along.

In fact, the machine is even more complicated this year. In addition to messages like the blogs you’ve seen on our webpage, the occasional boat between the station and the barge carries equipment, supplies, and now samples for us to process. Jugs of water, bags of soil, and requests for identification of various arctic dung specimens have all made their way back to Orbita.

So I’ll quickly get Sue and Nigel’s soil samples running in the oven, before I run off to Pleistocene Park.

But that’s another blog.



One Response to “Soil Lab Party!”

  1. July 18, 2014 at 7:39 pm, Karin said:

    I miss partying in the soil lab with you… I hope you are enjoying Siberia 2.0! Reading the blogs has been a highlight of my significantly less exciting desk job…