Sunday, October 10, 2010

Views from the Ice


So, after eight weeks here, I've finally found a routine for getting things done. Working a 54-hour work week has left me much less time and energy than I anticipated to do other stuff, so I've decided the best way to be consistent with the blog is to post once a week on Sunday (or Monday if I have a big event on Sunday), so keep an eye out each week for a new post! Even though my posts have been sparse of late, I've continued to take photos and I've got some to put online tonight. :)

During the month of September, we had several evenings with beautiful nacreous clouds scattered across the sky. One evening in particular was spectacular!

We've also had deeply colorful sunsets for the last few weeks. These will be disappearing soon. In two weeks, the sun will be above the horizon 24-7. I did see the sunset last night at 12:30am and it was yellow and orange behind the mountains. Here are a couple of sunset photos. The "smoke" is actually steam from the exhaust vents of the buildings.

We had a snowfall recently which doesn't happen very often. Since Antarctica is a desert, there's very little precipitation, and from what I understand, it's often too cold to snow. I've been told it has to be as warm as minus 20 for snow to form, but if anyone can correct me on that, I'd love to know. This particular snowy day was also not windy at all, which is unusual. It reminded me of Christmas. :)

Here are some pictures of the area during a sunny day. Observation Hill is right behind my dorm, and when it warms up, I'll hike to the top of it and get some photos from high up, including of Mt. Erebus! The mountains in the lower two pictures are part of the Transantarctic Range across the sea ice. The buildings you see on the sea ice are part of the ice runway and the road to it. That runway is built in September of each year and taken down in December. There's another runway several miles away on the permanent ice shelf south of the island, but it's far enough away that it's cheaper for the US Antarctic Program to build the ice runway for the spring and early summer months than to use the permanent runway year-round.

Have a great week and I'll see you next Sunday! :)


  1. John, Ashley, Braden, NoahOctober 11, 2010 at 5:00 AM

    LOVE the pictures of the clouds! definatly going to have to save them and get prints of them for us. keep them coming :)

  2. In MN it tends to snow between about 15F to 30F. Snow while the air temp is below about 10-15F is rare.

  3. Nice to hear from you Joseph. Quite another world there it seems!!!

    This week in the Boulder-Denver area, you could see the first snowfall of the year visible from the front range just behind the foothills at the Continental Divide.

    Take care, Janine

  4. Excellent photos. I know you don't have much time to answer comments, but I was curious what the mechanics had to do to the vehicles there on-site to ready them for *that* cold of an environment. I honestly didn't expect to see a run-of-the-mill Chevy truck or van sitting there.