Quick Update

January 3rd, 2012 by Maria-Jose Viñas
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By Lora Koenig

McMurdo Station (Antarctica), 15 December — Today the Traverse Team traveled from SEAT Camp 2 to SEAT Camp 3. They picked up their fuel cache at Camp 3 and enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies that were inside. So far, the team has drilled three ice cores and traveled over 220 kilometers (136.7 mi). They will be at Camp 3 for at least two days to drill two ice cores in this area, which is the highest accumulation site on the traverse. The accumulation here will be close to 1 meter (3.28 feet) per year, while at Byrd is was over10 centimeters (3.9 inches) per year. The team is traveling fast and making up lost time each day.

This map show the progress of the team so far. They are at SEAT Camp 3. The red stars are the ice core locations and the blue line shows the route they have traversed.

I am in McMurdo, waiting for a plane to fly back to Christchurch, New Zealand. The plane will arrive shortly after 4 AM. The C-17 planes have to land in the middle of the night because the days are already too warm, and the ice on the runway too soft, for a plane to land during daylight. So they are landing in the wee hours of the morning, which corresponds to the coldest part of the day and the hardest ice conditions. Once I get on a plane, I will be in transit for 60 hours, until I reach my home in Maryland.

I will leave Antarctica on the same plane than the Prime Minister of Norway, who was just at the South Pole to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Ronald Amundsen being the first man to reach the South Pole.  Our traverse team is still following in Amundsen’s footsteps, traveling over the ice to gain a better understanding of Antarctica.

 

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Notes from the Field