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Published: December 15th 2010
welcome to CTAM!
(taken near the end of my time there)
CTAM -Central Trans-Antarctic Mountains- just another acronym for one of many Antarctic science camps, supply depots and scientific or historic sites. After all the NSF- (Nat. Science Foundation) is a federal agency so acronyms are the govts way of confusing everyone. Like the military and NASA, acronyms are the norm on this continent, so i fit right in from the start. A typical conversation may go....."Hey Bob, Im on the HERC headed out to WAIS but got to pick up my extra ECW at the BFC before goin to 140 to Bag Drag and you know I need another P bottle too before I get to the MSRF at Pegasus!
Anyway.........we arrived after a 370 mile flight courtesy of the N.Y. Air Nat. Guard C130 to our field site deep in the Trans-Antarctic mountains. This range extends from the coast almost to the South Pole, which was about 325 miles from our site. Assigned to the Science Construction crew, I set out to help set up the camp My job was setting up the fuel lines, fuel tanks and stoves and heaters. With a little over 2 weeks to go from a small building and a few tents up to a
this map is the Us stations and field camps for 2010-2011, to find CTAM camp, look in the lower middle to AGO1, then just a little left and down, CTAM! Mcmurdo Station, my home base, is on the coast at the bottom in the 'notch'
facility ready to support up to 80 people, staff and scientists, there was lots of work and long days ahead! The SC crew were amazing, as were the permanent camp staff!
The Trans-Antarctic mountains are the 'spine' of the continent, like the Rockies in N America. They are stunning and the key to finding clues this frozen continent's much warmer past. Fossils and geology are part of the reason science here is important. But the hard 'grunt' work has to be done first--thats where science construction, electricians and UTs --(me) come in to play. We worked hard, had some fun, had a great but very different Thanksgiving Day , saw some amazing landscapes and back to Mcmcurdo we went. No showers, below zero temps, hard labor and living in a small tent are part of the experience in Antarctica, but never boring!it was a great time and my thanks to all who were out there, a great, proffesional and very funny group of people!
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