Here are some more photos I took from a helicopter while flying through Taylor and Wright Valleys last month. Both valleys are part of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, one of the largest snow-free areas in Antarctica and an area of intense scientific interest and investigation. All these photos were taken through the plastic windshield of the helicopter, so they are not the best quality.
Also included are three photos of the Fata Morgana mirage that has been appearing almost daily across the Sound towards Mt. Discovery and the Royal Society Range.
Polar StarUSCG Polar Class Icebreaker the Polar Star
Edge of the Ross Ice ShelfThe rock covered ice is the Ross Ice Shelf. The rock free snow on the right hand side is the sea ice. Due to the large icebergs north of here, it has been several years since the sea ice left here. The Dailey Islands are also visible.
The Royal Society RangeOne of the peaks in the Royal Society Range is Mt. Lister, named after the Canadian who invented Listerine.
Don Juan PondDon Juan Pond does not have an outlet and as a result has all sorts of unique characteristics that beekers like to study. ("Beeker" is USAP slang for scientist.)
Onyx RiverThe headwaters of the Onyx River are near the ocean and the river flows away from the ocean. This rather unusual behavior is a result of how the Dry Valleys were formed. At one time the Ross Ice shelf was thousands of feet thicker than it is today and the ice flowed off from it towards the Polar Plateau, carving the Dry Valleys. Now that Ice Shelf has decreased in size, the ice has retreated from the valleys and the Polar Plateau is higher than the valleys and the current ice shelf (now at sea level). The glaciers now spill off the Polar Plateau in the opposite direction from which the valleys were formed.
Castle Rock Castle Rock is in the foreground on Hut Point Peninusla which we flew over on our flight home. McMurdo Station is three miles away, but out of view below and to the left of Castle Rock. Mt. Discovery is in the background.
Fata MorganaThe Fata Morgan mirage looking towards Mena Bluffs. The row of dots across the sea ice in the foreground mark a road going to Pegasus Airfield.
More Fata Morgana This time looking towards the Royal Society Range. The mirage exaggerates the vertical scale so the "black cliffs" are actually virtually flat snow-free areas.