New Trips, New Questions

As there are new trips coming about because of equipment installs and bring in equipment for the winter as the summer season draws to a close, There are still questions the masses are thinking of, but shy to ask. Here are a couple that came in recently and I thought I would share them with the group. Remember that I have tried to add trivia onlong the throughout my posts and answers to comments, so have fun sharing them with your friends. They will be imporessed with the amount of useless information you have. Another post will come out soon with some new pictures of what I've been doing lately. 2 1/2 weeks to go before I leave.

ARE THERE ANY TREES IN ANTARCTICA?
While I haven't been to EVERY part of Antarctica. The beakers (read scientists) tell me there are no trees on any part of Antarctica what-so-ever. In fact, the mountains are all create from volcanoes with Mt Erebus here on Ross Island where I am being the only active one. The only thing you see is ice, snow, and dirt.

DO YOU EVER SEE THE SUN?
We are in our summer down here as the rest of you are spending the winter up there in the frozen North. We have had sunlight continuously since late September and the first sunset will be February 21st. By the way, the temperature today is 9F degrees and it is bright and sunny.

HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE THERE YEAR ROUND?
Here at McMurdo it depends on the time of year. We are the central supply function for US intrests in Antarctica, so we got up to about 1200 while sending beakers out to the camps and the pole. The winter over folks will number about 120. The South Pole has about 300 in the summer and 25 in the winter.

How big is the Pole without Ice?
It is about 5.5 million square miles or about 1.5 times the size of the USA. Of course, you have to remember that 99% is covered by ice and snow. Basically, it covers everything south of 66 Degrees. It doubles in size during the winter due to ice growth. Some of the pictures I've posted show mountain peaks sticking up through the top of the ice pack. This is called a "nunatak". The transantarctic range seperates the east and west coasts. Average depth of ice throughout the continent is 7500 feet with deepest being 9840 feet.

I understand people have homes underground true or false?
There are no "homes" underground (or underice either). In the first place, the ground is under a lot of ice in most places. Another reason is the international treaty that says no permanent stuctures will be erected. At the camps, the crews sleep in tents like you would use for camping in the USA. A survival technique is to dig a hole in the ground called a Quinzy to get out of the wind. There are tunnels underground at the south pole used for storage and to access water, but the temperture underground is almost 60F below year round, so you don't want to stay too long.

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