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Rediscovering Ross Island 2012: Penguins in the Wind

Written by Glenn Gaetani. We (Ken, Phil, Paul, Erin, Dan, and I) left McMurdo Station to spend four days at Cape Bird sampling lavas erupted from Mount Bird, a 5900 foot shield volcano that makes up the northern part of Ross Island (see blog 1 for a map). The flight from McMurdo to Cape Bird…

Xenoliths From the Mantle- Little Green Rocks From Deep Inside the Earth

Written by Kenneth W W Sims We are familiar with the geology we see on the surface of the Earth—the granite cliffs of Yosemite, the volcanoes of Hawaii, Yellowstone and Mount Saint Helens, or the red sandstone spires in the deserts of the American southwest. But what does deep inside of the Earth look like?…

Rediscovering Ross Island 2012: Awe-Inspiring Ice Caves

Written by Erin Phillips Writer After a hearty Sunday brunch at McMurdo station, Ken, Paul, Dan, and I went out for an afternoon on the snowmobiles.  This outing would allow those of us with no prior snowmobile experience to become more comfortable with the machines, as we will be using them for sampling rocks in…

Rediscovering Ross Island 2012: Erin, Dan and Paul Make Their First Helicopter Flight

Written by Paul Wallace. Mt. Terror – it sounds like something out of the Lord of the Rings, and at 10,600 feet elevation, it’s an imposing site.  Based on very limited age information, this volcano was last active about 1 million years ago and its flanks are dotted with small cinder cones and lava domes. …

Rediscovering Ross Island 2012: Lava Sampling on the North Shore

Written by Ken Sims. After all the requisite training we are now sampling the volcanic rocks on Ross Island. Yesterday while the other team members were completing their environmental training, Phil Kyle and I flew out to Lewis Bay (Plate 1 and 2) to sample the lava flows from Mount Bird that are exposed in…

Rediscovering Ross Island: Getting Ready with Survival Training

Written by Dan Rasmussen Two days isolated in the frigid expanse of the Antarctic desert lit by 24-hour sunlight with only survival equipment—at McMurdo Station, this is known as “Happy Camper School”.  Our two enthusiastic and knowledgeable instructors, Susan and Ben, led us (Paul, Erin and me) through the essential training necessary to stay safe,…

Expedition Antarctica: Penguins, Finally!

By Christine Dell’Amore Christine Dell’Amore is participating in a National Science Foundation media trip to report on scientists conducting polar research near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Going to Antarctica and not seeing penguins is, at least to me, akin to visiting Paris and skipping the Eiffel Tower. Of course, visiting a penguin colony is not easy…

Expedition Antarctica: On Thin Ice

By Christine Dell’Amore Christine Dell’Amore is participating in a National Science Foundation media trip to report on scientists conducting polar research near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Today truly felt Antarctic. So far the weather’s been no worse than a wintry day in D.C., but a storm barreled in this morning that is like nothing I’ve experienced–winds…

Expedition Antarctica: Creepy Crawlers and Explorers

By Christine Dell’Amore Christine Dell’Amore is participating in a National Science Foundation media trip to report on scientists conducting polar research near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Antarctica has its share of superlatives–coldest, highest, windiest–and, I think it’s safe to add, the most unpredictable. Flights and plans are constantly canceled–a glaciologist I met at the McMurdo Coffee…

Expedition Antarctica: South Pole Bound

By Christine Dell’Amore Christine Dell’Amore is participating in a National Science Foundation media trip to report on scientists conducting polar research near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. I never thought I’d dig military planes. But here I am, in my second cockpit in the space of two days, chatting up the pilot about the age of the…

Expedition Antarctica: Arriving in McMurdo

By Christine Dell’Amore Christine Dell’Amore is participating in a National Science Foundation media trip to report on scientists conducting polar research near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. I made it to McMurdo Station this morning, thanks to clear skies and the smooth sailing of our C-17. When I first climbed into the plane last night, I was…

Expedition Antarctica: Gearing Up

By Christine Dell’Amore Christine Dell’Amore is participating in a National Science Foundation media trip to report on scientists conducting polar research near McMurdo Station, Antarctica. After 20 hours of transit from D.C. to Christchurch, New Zealand, I’m just one more flight away from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, where I’m going as part of a National Science…