14 January 2010
Leaving Antarctica Is No Easier Than Getting Here
Posted by Dan Satterfield
Our flight back to Christchurch is delayed due to weather. It really is not that bad, but conditions at the ice runway an hour away by bus can be different. So I get a few more hours here and we now expect to arrive in Christchurch around 1am.
One of the most amazing things about Antarctica is how much support is involved to do any scientific research. The support staff is about 5-7 per each researcher. Perhaps closer to 10 at McMurdo. McMurdo is like a mining camp. It is the lifeline of the field camps and of the South Pole Station.
The ice cores from the WAIS divide are being stored at -20F just across the road in a special refrigeration area. They may hold some of the most important data ever recovered about earth’s climate history. They will be kept at that same temperature all the way back to the National Ice Center in Denver.
Waiting for the plane gave me enough time to adjust and resize a pic I took as we were entering Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole. You can see the flags around the “ceremonial pole” behind the building, if you look close. The real pole is about 50 meters away. It moves about 10 meters per year as the ice sheet flows toward the Ross Sea.
Next post from back in the real world!
McMurdo Station, Antarctica 1420 Friday 15 Jan 2010.
Did I see somewhere that the new Amundsen-Scott station uses a form of stilts as its foundation due to shifting ice?