Friday, October 13, 2017

A Winter Wonderland to Explore and Running the Skiway Part 2

As the snow fades off my room window these cool ice crystals remain.

I could never grow tired of exploring sastrugi. What a unique natural art form.

I did not run the skiway yesterday due to almost whiteout conditions. The next day the skiway was covered again which slowed my run.

The end of the skiway at 12,000 feet from the station. 

Standing before the "End of the World."

There is an old saying "Seize the Moment." This moment seized me. It's hard to describe this feeling of beauty, isolation and cold on this wonderful continent! It so hard to imagine that I am standing on a two mile thick ice glacier that is moving 30 feet a year. The land under the ice cap is full of lakes and rivers.

This is what the surface of the south polar ice cap looks like. Those brave soles of over 100 years ago who first walked to the South Pole had a very rough journey. 

Another successful run - soon I will be warm again. I feel like I am in a tank looking out small slits.

My work partner Garon and I in the satcom office. Garon has been here for almost a year so he is really ready to go home. While I have only been on station nine months.
Another growth chamber harvest which is always a treat.

It's interesting how ice/snow sticks to metal.

Attached to a metal cable.

Food is brought up from supply in the ice tunnel and set outside of the galley on a cargo deck. The round tubs are ice cream which are moved to the kitchen walk-in freezer to thaw. 

The stairway to the first floor cargo deck.
A very interesting ice formation called Yukimarimo. Discovered in 1995 at a Japanese Research Station. Yukimarimo are balls of fine frost formed at low temperatures on the Antarctic plateau during weak wind conditions. During a storm on the Antarctic plateau, humidity rises above normal levels. After a storm, the temperature drops rapidly and, due to the excess humidity, hoarfrost forms on the surface of the snow. At these low temperatures, electrostatic attraction between the rapidly formed ice crystals is high, due to growth charging during formation. When a light wind blows after the formation of this hoarfrost, the hoarfrost breaks apart and the frost crystals clump together and stick due to the high electrostatic attraction and subsequent fusing of the ice crystals. They then tumble across the snow in a manner similar to tumbleweed. The sizes of the yukimarimo range from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter. (from Wikipedia)

Large snow drift under the station.
I continue to enjoy almost daily runs depending on the wind.

At the sunrise dinner flag raffle I won the New Zealand flag that has been flying all year.

Blue ice!

My bear claw glove gives a contrast.

Holding my New Zealand flag from where it flew all year. The replacement New Zealand flag is on the far left. 

A banner moment at the Geographic South Pole. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mike,
    These pictures and your phone calls help me to understand the beauty and your interest in this continent. I don't think I have the stamina and tenacity that you have to endure the temperature and the wind chill factors. I would like the changing seasons somewhere! It is cooler today at around 80F with a strong breeze. The church fair is this weekend and I know how we have enjoyed being outside at night with the kids running around. I have saved some clam chowder for you in our little freezer!
    So get more of these pictures to share your experiences with us! I know a lot of people are waiting to see you and hear all about this winter session. Take care on those runs!
    Love always, andee