Date: 25 September 2012
Wind Speed: 20 knots
Temp with wind chill: -45C
After many days of storms, blowing snow and very little visibility we were finally ready to leave Scott Base and to go out again on a stunningly beautiful day. No wind, clear sky, sun and spectacular views of the Trans Antarctic Mountains – we couldn’t ask for more and were keen to get to the historic hut at Cape Evans.
Travelling to Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova Hut, which he built as an expedition base for his British Antarctic Expedition (1910–1913), involves driving over sea ice for approx. 20 km.
Jana helping to drill holes into the ice sheet © AHT/Martin
Even though the ice thickness is sufficient by now, there are still some cracks which need to be profiled. It means drilling several holes in to the ice right through to the water and measuring the thickness of the ice sheet. A tape measure and string attached to a weight which hooks itself to the underside of the ice sheet is very simple but works well. With a little tug on the string the weight is released again. By measuring several holes across the crack, the shape and therefore the stability of the ice around it, can be determined. It is a time consuming task, especially if you have to do it several times on a trip, but the alternative of breaking through the ice with your vehicle is a lot less attractive.
Cracks in an iceberg © AHT/Martin