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Norwegian-American Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica

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Polar Puzzle of the Week (Season 1)

A new puzzle for you each week! *

Week 14: Travelling scientists

Below is the Polar Puzzle of the Week* for week 14.  We hope you have enjoyed our Polar Puzzles for this expedition season. Join us again in November 2008 for more Polar Puzzles, as we traverse from South Pole to Toll station!

On their way home from Antactica, two scientists had missed their plane from Christchurch, and they were irritated. “Oh well,” said one, “if it were six hours later, we would only have to wait one-fifth as long until midnight, when the plane comes, as we’d have to wait if it were two hours earlier now.” Figuring out the answer helped the other to pass the time. What time was it?

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 13: Birds and penguins

A school of fish came near some penguins and skuas. Before the school of fish swam by, the penguins managed to gobble up seven fish apiece while the skuas got only two apiece. In total, 24 fish were eaten. How many birds were there?

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 12: Dreaming driver

Sometimes very long days of driving are needed in order to traverse Antarctica. After a great dinner on the traverse one day, the evening driver started his turn. The next morning at breakfast, he told the crew that he had dreamed that he was in a blizzard, and he thought that his dream was a warning of things to come. The crew did not let him drive after that.  Why?

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 11: Polar explorers

Three polar explorers were having lunch together: Atsu, Unni, and Mary. The one at the head of the table was a mechanical engineer. The one who sat in the middle was a geologist. The one at the foot of the table had blonde hair. Atsu had black hair. Mary had brown hair. Atsu was not an engineer.  Where at the table were the three sitting?

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 10: Emperor penguins

Emporer penguins march to the sea for food from their home on the inland ice. One penguin averaged 4 km per hour on the way to the sea. On the way back along the same route, he averaged only 2 km per hour.  Counting only the time the penguin was moving, what was his average speed?   (Hint: it is not 3 km/hr!)

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 9: Antarctic stations

Stations from many nations are scattered around Antarctica, and they have been situated at different elevations. Dome C is lower elevation than Vostok, but higher than South Pole and Troll, in that order. Vostok is lower elevation than Dome Fuji, but higher than Troll. Troll is lower elevation than Dome A. Dome Fuji is higher than Vostok, but lower elevation than Dome A. Dome A is  higher than Dome C. Which  of these Antarctic stations is the highest elevation?

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 8: Christmas Day

We are traveling to spend Christmas Day at a special site with large snow dunes. It takes us two and a half hours to get there because the snow is deep and going is tough. The snow is bad on the way back, too – identical in fact – but we make it back in only 150 minutes. How do we manage this trick?

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 7: Certain characteristics

Glen likes things with certain characteristics. He likes sleet but not snow. He likes gulls but not penguins. He likes skidoos but not sleds.  Does he like eels or fish, and why?

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 6: A hidden message

A hidden message about your answer! Cross out all A's if the U.S. station at the South Pole is named after Norwegian and British explorers; or if not, then cross out all R's. Cross out all O's if the continent of Antarctica has always been near the Earth's south pole, or if not, then cross out all I's. If most of the world's fresh surface water is now found in Antarctica, cross out every B and U; otherwise cross out the C's.

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 5: How many layers?

We had a contest to guess how many layers of snow that we would find in the top two meters at the next sampling site. Five people joined the game. After Mary did the sampling, she found that one person had guessed the number exactly.  Atsu was 5 under, Stein was two under, Unni was the winner, Lou was one over, and Kjetil was 6 over.  The numbers guessed were 26, 15, 18, 21, and 20.  How many layers were in the top two meters of snow?

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Week 4: Gas leak

You are driving across the ice sheet to collect ice cores for climate science.  You fill the gas tank of your new tracked vehicle, which holds 200 liters and gives you ¼ kilometer to the liter.  That should easily get you to the next drilling site, which is 40 km away. Unfortunately, about 10 km from the site, the vehicle stops because the gas tank is dry. You can see the last drops leaking out of the tank.  How many liters of gasoline were lost due to the leak?


The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Running in the StormWeek 3: Running in the storm

The traverse team is running after the boxes that are being blown by the wind. Helgard is running ahead of Stein. Lou is not last. Glen is behind Atsu and Lou, in that order. Stein is not first. Atsu is behind Stein. Who is running at the front of the group?

The answer will be revealed in our expedition diary next week!

Polar Puzzle of the Week

Week 2: Packing Problem

The packing in preparation for our traverse is going well!  We have packed 96 boxes. The second day we packed 2 boxes more than the first day.  On the third day, we packed 3 boxes more than the second day, and on the fourth day we packed 4 boxes more than the third day.  How many boxes did we pack the first day?

The answer is revealed in our expedition diary entry for November 11!

PenguinWeek 1: Penguin Race

Patty Penguin and Peter Penguin were racing, but it was no contest. Patty beat Peter by 10 meters on a 100-meter course. Peter suggested that for the second race, Patty should start 10 meters behind the starting line. Peter figured that would give him a fair chance, since she had won the first race by 10 meters. Who won the second race, and by how much?

Check our expedition diary for the answer!


* Adapted from A.F. Salny, The Mensa Genius Quiz-A-Day book, 1989.

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