Blogs from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Antarctica - page 5


Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station February 22nd 2008

Across the McMurdo Sound and about 50 miles north of here lies one of the rarest and coolest regions in the whole world... Even here in Antarctica, where glaciers and snow-capped mountains are the norm, this region is considered the holy grail of all research locations and the closest place on earth to the conditions we imagine might exist on Mars... The McMurdo Dry Valleys. Everyone eats their heart out over people who get to go to these obscure field camps within the Dry Valleys and the photos never really do the region justice. What's so special about brown rocky mountain peaks and barren valleys? Nothing, except when they're in Antarctica (98% covered by ice) and full of microscopic living organisms (the only ones on the continent!). So, when I heard that all of the Carps ... read more
Ross Island and vacinity
The Entrance to the Dry Valleys
The Dry Valleys

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station February 9th 2008

Since I have gotten many requests for what it's "really" like here in town and I'm a little too lazy (and I'll admit it, bashful) to go around taking photos of all the normal and abmnormal stuff, I'll instead reference my friend Kevin's blog (he's a Red Sox fan, but we've agreed to disagree that the Yankees are the greatest baseball team ever) who has done a much better (and funnier) version of what I would do: His next blog posting, Funny Signs Around Town,, is equally amusing. On to my own writing... I am currently out of work for a few days due to a nasty bout of the "crud." It's almost mandatory to get ... read more
A satellite view of the shipping channel
The Nathaniel B. Palmer ("the Natty-B") coming into town
Touring the Palmer

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station January 31st 2008

So much to write about and so little time. It's amazing how routine one's life becomes- no matter what the setting or task- and how ridiculous it seems to write about it at length to post online for the world to read. This happened on my cross-country bike trip, again when I was backpacking in Europe, and now as I live and work on the forgotten continent, Antarctica. I can't believe I've let myself think that the majestic view of the Royal Society Mountain range across the way is just "scenery," that my daily interactions with people from across the country and around the globe are just "conversations," or that the crates I assemble and paint in the Carp Shop are just "plywood boxes," and not receptacles for important scientific equipment and extracted evidence that might ... read more
Ah, The Royal Society Range
"Sparky" driving the dump truck
In front of the Carp Shop...

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station December 21st 2007

This year in Antarctica the buzzword (well, acronym) seems to be "AGAP" (Antarctic GAmbertsev (Mountain) Province) due to the incredible logistics involved in establishing a brand new deep field camp at a 12,400ft elevation (which feels more like 14,000ft at the polar latitudes due to the extreme cold conditions) in -40*F temperatures. The point of the science is to explore the Gambertsev Mountain range that is completely submerged below the snow and ice to decode how a huge mountain range came to be in the middle of the continent, what the climate past was like in this region, and how this could all be effected by rising temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations (notice a pattern?!?). For more about the science, here's a good article: Judy, thi... read more
And onto the C-130 airplane
The view out the window as we took off
And inside as we flew...

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station December 17th 2007

Just so you all know, it is NOT all work and no play here in McMurdo, Antarctica. Please view these photos of various recreation activities that are available here. Although daylight never ceases during an Antarctic summer, finding the time to take advantage of what McMurdo has to offer can be a challenge. People have crawled on their stomach through an ice tunnel to enter a spectacular ice cave on a tour offered by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation office. In addition to such organized trips, MWR also offers recreation equipment such as golf clubs, mountain bikes, and fly rods and waders. Other forms of entertainment unique to McMurdo include tours of the icebreaker ship when it rolls into town toward the end of each summer, Nordic skiing on frozen ice, tours of the McCrary Lab ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station December 9th 2007

I was chosen as one of the four carpenters to go out to Granite Harbor to pull out the field camp that had been established there for ANDRILL ( Granite Harbor (~100 miles north along the mainland coastline) that had been established for the ANDRILL team to do test drilling (of sea ice and sediment cores) for a few weeks after which we were called in to take it down. It was AMAZING- the 50 minute helicopter ride each way was the craziest thing! We flew really low at one point to ride parallel to the glaciers stuck in the sea ice and actually touched down on a chunk of B-15 (the infamous glacier that broke off of West Antarctica in 2001 that was a wake-up call about global warming- it's featured in An Inconvenient Truth) ... read more
Chunks of the B-15 iceberg trapped in the frozen sea
Another chunk of B-15
Seals (those dots) along the sea ice cracks

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station December 9th 2007

Life has settled into a habitatual pattern here in McMurdo but it is anything but boring. In the last few weeks I proudly walked to the continent of Antarctica (McMurdo is located on Ross Island, about 60 miles away from the continent) and geared up to fly to East Antarctica to establish AGAP, a brand new field camp that is currently flat, white and empty. In between, life has settled into a normal busy routine. For example, here was my last week's schedule: Monday- I accompanied my coworker on his weekly run to deliver propane to the various field camps set up on the sea ice. We drove down in the piston bulley to the sea ice transition, picked up a sled loaded with a cage of full propane tanks, and drove about an hour northward ... read more
View of Arrival Heights
Happy Birthday to me!
Birthday Nachos!

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station December 1st 2007

Cape Evans (77°38′S, 166°24′E) is a rocky cape on the west side of Ross Island, forming the north side of the entrance to Erebus Bay. It was discovered by the Discovery expedition (1901-04) under Scott, who named it the Skuary. Scott's second expedition, the British Antarctic Expedition (1910-13), built its headquarters here, renaming the cape for Lieutenant Edward R.G.R. Evans, Royal Navy, second in command of the expedition. Scott's headquarters building still exists and is known as Scott's Hut. Located about fourteen miles from McMurdo, The hut at Cape Evans is known as the Terra Nova hut, named after Captain Scott's ship and was used on Scott's last Antarctic Expedition from 1910-1913. Shackleton later used the hut on his attempt to cross Antarctica in 1917. It's amazing how well preserved the hut and its contents are, ... read more
Adelia Penguin
Adelia Penguin
Penguin crossing

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station November 28th 2007

As soon as life begins to fall into a routine that seems as though I could be living it anywhere on earth, all I need to do is look out the window at the incredible mountain ranges surrounding McMurdo and my breath is lost when I realize where I am. Every time I hear someone complain about the unexciting dinner options, infrequency of incoming mail packages due to backed-up flights, or prevalence of muddy volcanic-ash around town, I go for a hike beyond this Americanized bubble and once again remember how incredible it is that our lives are so “normal” here. And just as soon as I have begun to learn everyone’s name in the Carp Shop, where tools and supplies are kept, and how to operate each machine without loosing a finger or two, it ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica » McMurdo Station November 23rd 2007

McMurdo Station sits with in the Ross Dependency, and is the largest community in Antarctica (capable of supporting up to 1,258 residents and a science research center operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National Science Foundation. Located at 77°51′S, 166°40′E, McMurdo sits on the southern tip of Ross Island in Antarctica, on the shore of McMurdo Sound, 2,200 miles (3,500 km) due south of New Zealand. The station is America's largest, and serves both as their Antarctic research facility, and the logistics base for half the continent. All personnel and cargo going to or coming from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station first pass through McMurdo. The station owes its designation to nearby McMurdo Sound, named for Lieutenant Archibald McMurdo of HMS Terror, which first charted the area in ... read more
Travelling to Antarctica
Traveling to Antarctica
Traveling to Antarctica

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