Antarctica Expedition : Post #15 - November 6, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Antarctica Nov 6

Mt. Erebus

At 12,500 feet, Mt. Erebus is the 2nd highest volcano in Antarctica and the most active. It is a persistent gassing volcano famous for its active lava lake. The study of these gasses and their significance in the atmosphere is much easier because of Antarctic's unpolluted air. The gasses released are CO2, CO, SO2, OCS, HCL, HF, and H2O ... HCL, HF, and SO2 are ozone depleting gasses.

Sir James Ross named the volcano after his ship the Erebus. The first person to ascend Mt. Erebus was Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1908.

When we go to locations that are somewhat dangerous, we are required to get field support. Since I planned on landing and walking around the fumaroles that are near the top of the crater, a mountaineer specialist from FSTP had to accompany us. The fumaroles are large ice towers near the crater that release some gasses. Being so high up, overlooking the Ross Sea, and looking up into the edge of the crater is quite spectacular.

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The ascent from sea level to 11,500 feet only takes 15 minutes so it is very difficult to acclimate.

It took 3 1/2 hours to climb around 500 feet and back while taking photographs.

 

Posted by Diane Tuft

Antarctica Expedition : Post #17 - November 9-13, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Antarctica Nov 9-13

 Winding Down

 We have been very lucky with the weather and most of what I wanted to capture has been done.

The day was beautiful and I thought it would be a perfect day to get a little more recording of the Weddell Seals so we headed out to Turtle Rock to see what we could find. Turtle Rock has a seal colony that is being studied by Dan Costa's group. Dan had finished his research and we were able to go out undisturbed to visit the seals and their pups.

 
Packed up in a Piston Bully

Packed up in a Piston Bully

 

We followed the sound of a newborn pup and his mother. He was so loud that I was able to capture the sounds of him sucking and swallowing!

 
 

The next day I revisited the Pressure Ridges which have provided me with some of my best photographs.

 
 

The frost flowers on the sea ice seem to reflect and refract light and produce a rainbow of colors

 
Hands get freezing cold while out in the snow...

Hands get freezing cold while out in the snow...

 

...so in addition to hand warmers, you can put your hands on a warm stomach if you can find a brave soul.

 
Pressure Ridges with Mt. Erebus in the background

Pressure Ridges with Mt. Erebus in the background

 

 

Posted by Diane Tuft

Antarctica Expedition : Post #20 - November 17, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Antarctica Nov 17

The Last Day

It all went so quickly and I had so much to learn on my last day.

Our C-17 was leaving for Christchurch at 4:00PM and I had to pack in as much as possible in the few hours I had left.

At 7:00AM I met the head of the Carpentry shop for breakfast. We headed up to the top of the hill where I was able to have a first hand experience of the "coolest" department.

 
 
Stretch class at Carpentry...every morning at 7:30

Stretch class at Carpentry...every morning at 7:30

Everyone decorates their station

Everyone decorates their station

The new sign for the fire department

The new sign for the fire department

I then went to visit Welding and met Henry Finch who is 73 and a retired welder. He teaches jewelry making 3 days a week at McMurdo and has been coming to the Ice for the past 8 years since he retired.

Some of Henry's creations...

Silver Wire Sculptures

Silver Wire Sculptures

A welded creation

A welded creation

It was then time to visit the Pressure Ridges for the last time. The day was warm (12 degrees), no wind, blue skies. This would be my 3rd visit to the Pressure Ridges.

McMurdo is a town with every service necessary to be a self-reliant town. It was particularly interesting to see how a town operates.

After eating a quick lunch (last meal at the Galley!), I squeezed in a visit to the Power Plant, Water Filtration facility and Waste Management.

The Power Plant has four huge generators that create so much heat that they provide most of the hot water necessary for McMurdo.

Becca is in charge of all of the Waste recycling at McMurdo... she is a Microbiologist and spends her day making sure that each microorganism is doing its job in getting rid of any organic waste.

This is the chart of the various microorganisms that are necessary to do this job.

This is the chart of the various microorganisms that are necessary to do this job.

This is the chart of the various microorganisms that are necessary to do this job.

After the solid is separated from the liquid, the clean liquid is deposited in the sea. The water that we drink is from the sea and is desalinated by reverse osmosis. Chlorine is added and we have our drinking water!

This is the solid waste left after all of the microorganisms do their work. It has no smell and is put into containers, which will be shipped with all of the other trash to California on the Icebreaker in December. This waste will be incinerated. Other waste will go to landfills.

It was now time to get into the Delta to board the C-17 to Christchurch. It will be the first time we will see dark since out arrival in Antarctica.

The Delta

The Delta

The C-17

The C-17

Very roomy!!

On our way 

Now I am thinking about my memories of McMurdo... A few of my favorite images…

Crazy rock formations

Crazy rock formations

The Dry Valleys

The Dry Valleys

The colors of the cliffs

The colors of the cliffs

Ice crystals forming patterns in the sky

Ice crystals forming patterns in the sky

The Barne Glacier

The Barne Glacier

A snow covered Hagglund

A snow covered Hagglund

Peaking out from an Ice Cave

Peaking out from an Ice Cave

Mt. Erebus

Mt. Erebus

Diamond Dust

Diamond Dust

Lake Vanda

Lake Vanda

Ventifacts

Ventifacts

Last sunset at McMurdo

Last sunset at McMurdo

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

Pressure Ridges

Pressure Ridges

Light over the Pressure Ridges

Light over the Pressure Ridges

Quite a Dream!!!

I hope you enjoyed the trip!!

 

Posted by Diane Tuft