Icebergs in the Ross Sea Ice and Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans

Here are some pictures of icebergs stuck in Ross Sea ice. They were truly amazing to see and much more impressive than the pictures show. Only about 10% of the iceberg is visible so the other 90% is underwater. These icebergs were likely grounded deep underwater and then frozen in the annual Ross Sea Ice.

The last picture is of R. F. Scott’s hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica. This was built as his home base during his South Pole Expedition over 100 years ago. He and his men died on their return from the pole. They nearly made it to a food depot stashed in the ice.

A large iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.

A large iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.

A very large iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.  A Hagglund is in the distance.

A very large iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice. A Hagglund is in the distance.

I love icebergs!!

I love icebergs!!

Me in front of the iceberg.

Me in front of the iceberg.

This massive iceberg is stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.  It is sticking out of the ice about 50 feet and the other 90% of it is under the sea ice!!  That is an ice cave about half way up the face of it.

This massive iceberg is stuck in the Ross Sea Ice. It is sticking out of the ice about 50 feet and the other 90% of it is under the sea ice!! That is an ice cave about half way up the face of it.

Another shot of the large iceberg.

Another shot of the large iceberg.

Iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice.  A pressure ridge crack around the whole thing makes the perimeter very dangerous.

Iceberg stuck in the Ross Sea Ice. A pressure ridge crack around the whole thing makes the perimeter very dangerous.

Beautiful iceberg in the Ross Sea Ice.  The part showing above the surface is only about 10% of it's actual size.   That would mean that the part we can't see is over 500 feet down under the ice!

Beautiful iceberg in the Ross Sea Ice. The part showing above the surface is only about 10% of it’s actual size. That would mean that the part we can’t see is over 500 feet down under the ice!

The Trans-Antarctic Mountains behind a giant iceberg.  The mountains are also known as the Royal Society range.

The Trans-Antarctic Mountains behind a giant iceberg. The mountains are also known as the Royal Society range.

Looking down a sea ice crack

Looking down a sea ice crack

Scott's Hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica.  This was R.F. Scott's base during his South Pole expedition over 100 years ago.  It's amazing to think that it exists exactly as they left it.

Scott’s Hut at Cape Evans, Antarctica. This was R.F. Scott’s base during his South Pole expedition over 100 years ago. It’s amazing to think that it exists exactly as they left it.

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Sea Ice Training

Yesterday I did Sea Ice Training. The purpose of this class is to learn how to profile cracks in the sea ice to determine if it’s safe to cross with the vehicle you are in. We went out to the Mt. Erebus glacier tongue. This is where the glacier pushes out into the Ross Sea ice several miles. It’s a very active crack area because the glacier is constantly pushing against the sea ice. One of the cracks we profiled was about 10 feet wide and had cracked and froze multiple times.

To profile a crack we carefully approach and examine the crack and shovel off snow to find the overall width of the crack. You can clearly see the different layers that form each time it breaks and the incoming water freezes. We then drill holes all the way across to determine how thick each layer is. The profile is used to determine whether it’s safe to cross. The thickness of the ice inside the crack and overall width are important factors to know whether you can cross it with a certain type of vehicle. Each vehicle has a different limit on thickness and crack width. It was actually really fun!

Me with Gretel, our trusty Hagglund.

Me with Gretel, our trusty Hagglund.

The ice drill we use to profile cracks in the sea ice.

The ice drill we use to profile cracks in the sea ice.

An active crack in the Ross Sea Ice that we profiled.  Mt. Erebus is in the background and you can see some faint steam venting at the top.

An active crack in the Ross Sea Ice that we profiled. Mt. Erebus is in the background and you can see some faint steam venting at the top.

Looking down the length of the crack in the Ross Sea Ice.  The crack was about 10ft wide.

Looking down the length of the crack in the Ross Sea Ice. The crack was about 10ft wide.

The crack profile and thickness of each layer across the crack.  This crack had broken about 5 times.  The most recent formed a pressure ridge at the center.

The crack profile and thickness of each layer across the crack. This crack had broken about 5 times. The most recent formed a pressure ridge at the center.

Weddell seals basking in the sun on the Ross Sea Ice.

Weddell seals basking in the sun on the Ross Sea Ice.

Weddell seal basking in front of Mt. Erebus.  Erebus is an active volcano with a lava lake in it's crater.

Weddell seal basking in front of Mt. Erebus. Erebus is an active volcano with a lava lake in it’s crater.

Our Hagglund on the Ross Sea Ice.

Our Hagglund on the Ross Sea Ice.

Pressure ridges in the Ross Sea Ice near Scott Base, Antarctica

Today I went to the Pressure Ridges near Scott Base, Antarctica. These are created by the pressure of the Ross Ice Shelf pressing against the annual sea ice of the Ross Sea. The ice shelf is 400+ feet thick, while the annual sea ice is around 9+ feet thick currently. Where they meet, the pressure pushes the sea ice into beautiful ice formations. Because these are cracks in the ice, you have to be very careful as you can definitely fall into an ice crack and that could be very, very bad. The Weddell seals sometimes come up through the cracks to lounge on the ice.

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