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   from the issue of November 1, 2007

Student helps gauge future ANDRILL sites


"I think I might have shrieked," said senior geology major Jake Carnes. "I know I couldn't think or speak clearly for two or three minutes."

ON THE MAP - UNL student and ANDRILL member Jake Carnes points to the area in Antarctica where he is working...
 ON THE MAP - UNL student and ANDRILL member Jake Carnes points to the area in Antarctica where he is working this semester. Photo by Sara Gilliam, University Communications.

Carnes' astonishment came from a phone call from UNL geosciences professor David Harwood, who offered Carnes the opportunity of a lifetime.

"He said, 'Hey, we've got a spot open. Want to come to Antarctica with us?'" Carnes said. The invitation exceeded his wildest dreams - literally. Several years ago, Harwood told Carnes - who was a sophomore at the time - and a group of his classmates that undergraduates were very rarely taken into the field with the ANDRILL (Antarctic Geologic Drilling) Program. "That kind of bashed my dreams right there," Carnes said.

Or so he thought.

This fall, he has wrapped himself in snow pants and a gigantic parka to spend several months in the coldest, windiest place on Earth, as one of a handful of undergraduates invited to assist with ANDRILL, the international Antarctic research project based at UNL.

A senior from DeWitt, Carnes didn't arrive at UNL with definite ideas about what he wanted to study. But after he took his first geology class, he was hooked. Since then, he said, "my environmental consciousness has skyrocketed."

In Antarctica, Carnes will work with a team on a seismic survey of the Mackay Sea Valley. He works with senior scientists from ANDRILL partner universities, graduate students, educators, drillers and a mountaineer. While they're immersed in the project, the team camps on sea ice in heavy-duty tents that can withstand frigid, hurricane-force winds. Work is conducted 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and during breaks, Carnes will be studying for three independent study classes.

With any remaining free time, Carnes said he hopes to write letters and take photos to send to his aunt, who teaches first grade at Tri County Elementary School near DeWitt. She has designed a unit on Antarctica and, according to Carnes, her students are especially eager for pictures of penguins.



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Student helps gauge future ANDRILL sites
UNL, UNMC sign research collaboration agreement