A Full Day of Work On Laguna Negra

By Eric Smith

11 burns, 12 cuts, 66 fishermens knots, Nathalie fingers are showing the evidence of hard work preparing instruments for deployment in the lake, and then putting them in place.

Laguna Negra is very deep, scoured out by the power of huge glaciers that receded after the last ice age. The remnants that remain of that huge earth moving event include the Terminal Moraine of rocks that we have made our camp on, a lake over 300 meters deep in some places, and the remaining modern glacier Echaurren, that feeds the river that goes over Victoria Cascade and fills the lake that ultimately provides water for 9 million Chileans, There is a lot of geological history here, and a lot of its happening right now. Echaurren is receeding rapidly, andt hat’s why this location was chosen for the PLL project. Glaciers melting, lake levels changing, all at an accelerated pace.

The lake’s color and clarity keeps catching us by surprise. I hope that some of the pictures come out so that you all can see it too. How Clear? 10.5 meters on the secci disk.

How Blue? I’ll get back to you on that.

First order of the day, launch the inflatable boats to deploy a line of light and temperature sensors to profile the water column down to 50 m of water exactly. Not as easy as it sounds, because the wind was blowing and our little boat has trouble holding position once we found the depth we were looking for.

The idea is to find out how deep the environmentally damaging UV goes into the water. UV radiation is going to affect all the microbial organisms that live in the lake. How they deal with the radiation is an important part of this project that we’ll post about soon.

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