Latitude: 90 degrees South
Longitude: 0 degrees East
Temperature: −40°C( −40°F)
Wind speed: 5 −10 knots
Wind Chill: −55°C( −67°F)
Wind direction: Grid 082
Elevation: Not Given
Kilometers traveled: 0
Notes on daily life:
By Dan reports from Amundsen Scott South Pole Station:
Today was another day of minimal exertion for Tom and me, but not so much for the rest of the crew. Lynn and James were working hard replacing the broken accumulators on both of our CAT 55s. The accumulators broke as a result of the extremely low temperatures that our tractors endured during the harsh South Pole winter. Andrea, John, and Matt were kept busy all day working in and around the sleds and modules of our traverse train. They had help from our two carpenters: Larry Gullingsurd and Charlie McClellan. The sled preparation work is making good progress and soon we will be able to load our traverse gear ready for travel.
As this was the third acclimatization day for Tom and me, we had been advised to do some light exercise. What better way to do that than by exploring the South Pole Station some more? We walked over to the abandoned Russian plane and took a few pictures. The plane seems pretty basic and fairly small, the pilots who landed it at the South Pole were not able to take off again so the plane has remained here ever since. During our walk back from the plane a friendly Polie (South Pole resident) stopped on his snowmobile and asked us if we wanted a lift, did we refuse? Of course not!
After our speedy ride back to the elevated station we explored some of the underground tunnels that link the old and new stations together. The dimly lit tunnels remind me of something out of an alien sci−fi horror movie, they are lined with tubes, pipes, and wires of all shapes and sizes. Some of the newer tunnels extend out for thousands of meters beyond the station. The ambient temperature in these lengthy underground ice tunnels is a frosty –55 °C, now that is cold!
When we had finished exploring the tunnels I decided to do some investigating above ground. While out by the geographic South Pole the previous day I had wondered just how fast the ice was moving? The South Pole Station and everything around it sits on several thousand meters of ice and snow, in turn this ice and snow sits on the bedrock of the Antarctic continent below. The Antarctic continental bedrock is not flat, so the ice sheet has to obey the law of gravity by flowing down hill. The geographic pole marker is a convenient tool to determine this flow speed; by measuring the distance between successive pole markers, one can determine the total distance that the ice has flowed in one year (the geographic pole marker is repositioned by the USGS on Jan 1st each year). I pulled out my handy tape measure and measured the distance between the last four successive pole markers. The distance was the same between each successive pair meaning that the speed of flow has remained at a constant 9−10 m/year for at least the last three years. By standing in−line with the markers and looking out to the horizon, I could see that at some point in the future the silver geodesic dome and the orange Skylab building will pass to either side of the geographic South Pole.