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Norwegian-American Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica

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Third Time's a Charm?

by Tom Neumann — last modified 2008-12-16 19:18

Today was our second try at bringing cargo into Camp Winter.

The weather started off looking pretty good, but the computer models that are used for forecasting the weather suggested that South Pole was going to have limited visibility in the afternoon.  Given how expensive each flight is down here, we can't really afford to fly in the hopes that the forecast is wrong.  So after delaying once or twice in the hopes of a better forecast, our flights were canceled again for the day.  We will hope for better weather (and a better forecast) tomorrow.

So that left us with a bit of time in the afternoon.  Lou and Zoe took advantage of the time to take a picture at the ceremonial south pole.  The ceremonial pole is some 30m away from the actual (geographical) South Pole. The marker for the geographic pole is moved once a year on January first, and a new marker is set at the actual geographic South Pole.  But why is a new marker needed every year?  That's because although the point on the map doesn't change the ice here at the south pole moves about 7 m per year.  So after the maker is placed on January 1 each year, ice flow carries the marker farther and farther from the actual geographical south pole.  Markers from prior years can be seen trailing off in the distance as the ice flow carries them away.  An analogy might be dropping a leaf in a stream or river, and watching the water carry the leaf down stream.  This phenomenon caused some confusion in the early days of South Pole station before the ice flow rate was accurately measured.

attende nov

Lou and Zoe pose near the ceremonial pole. Photo: Lou Albershardt

attende novtoTom indicates the direction of ice flow.  Geographical markers from past years can be seen in the distance. Photo: Dan Dixon

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