Ice Stories
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MCMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA– They keep asking, “Are you with the group that’s traversing the sea ice?” When they ask, they have this look — a look that says, “ouch.” These are the old school Antarctic guys, the “winter over” people — the ones that stay here when the sun defies all things natural and refuses to shine for months on end. To them, we might be a bunch of less hearty scientists. They don’t know us very well. We have a secret weapon.

Scott tents at Happy Camper School.

We believe. When the winds blow, the snow flies, and the temperatures drop we hold tight to one thing: our purpose. All scientists seek data, a particular set of data that may allow for a better understanding of our world and universe. They seek an understanding beyond the textbooks they were taught from. Geologists have a particular reputation for unyielding determination and enthusiasm. I’ve been told by more than one biologist, “Yeah, you geologists like your stuff.” That’s right, we do.

Humans have lived on our planet only a short while. The processes that affect our planet and all living things on it may repeat only in cycles longer than our existence. It is only by looking deep into our planet’s past that we have a chance of understanding all of the complex processes that have lead to its development. That’s why geologists love their rocks. Each rock or sequence of rocks allow us the potential to look back in time. Rocks help us understand ancient ice ages, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, earthquakes, climate changes, biological evolution, ocean chemistry evolution, asteroid impacts and much more. Rocks yield clues to our past so we can define processes that may affect our future. We liken them to geologic time machines with the ability to transcribe earth’s past and shed light on its future.

A Piston Bully.

So when we set out for our five-hour journey over the ice of Antarctica in a convoy of five snowmobiles, one Piston Bully, a Challenger and multiple sleds, do not fear. No need to worry about us as we chisel away at 40 below in unheated Scott tents and no showers. Our beliefs will keep us warm. We are revealing earth’s past to define its future. What could be finer than that?

Me in skidoo training.
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4 Responses »


  2. I am speechless…………..

  3. This project had captured my imagination like nothing else in a long time. I wait impatiently for the reports!

  4. I love your stories…way to go Andrea!