Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Double Whammy on 2-22

Today, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook Christchurch, New Zealand, the latest in a series of earthquakes that have shaken the city since September 4 of last year. Unlike before, however, this quake leveled many buildings and has killed at least 65 people so far; many others are still trapped and unaccounted for. The steeple of the cathedral in the center of town has crumbled.  For those of you who may be trying to get in touch with USAP people in Christchurch, there is a Google spreadsheet that people are updating as they can. Also, there is a Facebook page called "Ice People Earthquake Check-in" where USAP participants can get in touch with each other.

On a lighter note, today provided the longest and windiest snowstorm I've seen so far at McMurdo Station. Fortunately, everyone here is safe and well. The winds are furious and non-stop and snow has been blowing in all directions. We had practically no snow on station yesterday and now there are snowdrifts between two and three feet deep. Below is a photo I took from the lounge of my dorm.

There will probably be more storms like this as the winter sets in. The first sunset since October occurred this past Sunday morning at around 1:30am. With each passing day, we will lose about 15 minutes of sunlight each day until the sun finally sets for the winter on Sunday, April 24; it will not rise again until August 19.

The past couple of weeks have been very busy.  I've changed jobs, I've begun packing my stuff to move to a new dorm for winter, and I've been spending last bits of time with people who are leaving Antarctica now that the research season is nearly over. The final flights are scheduled to leave Wednesday and Friday, although those will likely be delayed due to the weather here and the earthquake in New Zealand. In any case, once things settle down, I plan to resume blogging on a weekly basis. Until then, posts may appear rather sporadically. See you soon! :)

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