Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Second Visit to the Pressure Ridges

My second trip to the pressure ridges took place in mid-January, two and a half months after the first trip. By this point, the sun had been completely above the horizon for nearly three months, and even though the weather was dipping below freezing again at the time, temperatures in December had been in the mid- to upper-forties. As a result much of the pressure ridge area had melted and then begun refreezing.

Our tour guide leading us through the transition, the point where the island meets the sea ice. The top layer of ice was slush at this point, although it was still frozen solid underneath.

A view of Ob Hill under the hazy sunlight.

My foot fell through the slush into a puddle of water below; good thing I had waterproof boots. :)

Here you can see how the edges of the formations have frayed from slow disintegration under the warm sun; the green flags marked the safe route through the ridges.

A view of the group following the flags.

More disintegrating formations.

As we progressed through the ridges, clouds bearing snow rolled in and blocked out the little sunlight we had.

Here is some frozen flowing water.

The "puddle" in this picture was once water but has since refrozen.

Another frozen puddle with icicles handing from the formation above.

Kevin, Liz, and Meagan, three of my fellow janitors, being goofy and having fun. :)

Meagan stepped into a snowdrift and sank all the way to her hip! Fortunately the snow was deep enough that her foot didn't hit water.

Meagan taking a break by the frozen pond; this one was pretty big.

Kevin through the icicles.

This ice feature formed a bridge over the puddle below it; as you can see from the bubbles just under the surface, this water wasn't completely frozen.

This spectacular formation is one of my favorites! It looks like running, flowing water that was instantly frozen. :)

This flaky formation has a nice hole in it.

As we finished our tour, the snow began to fall pretty heavily. Here's a view of Ob Hill from McMurdo Station after we got back. The brown building in front, dubbed "Hotel California", is where I lived during the summer season.

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