Posted by Cricket
Date: 16 September 2010
Wind Speed: 0 knots
Temp with wind chill: -20C
Last night after work we took a walk following a flagged route around the pressure ridges. Pressure ridges are ice formations, common to sea ice in the winter. In essence, they form when two floes are forced together causing large sections to break off and uplift. The ridge in front of Scott Base forms when the Ross Sea Ice Shelf pushes up against the stationary sea ice, which is locked in place against the shore.
Pressure ridges © AHT/Cricket
Visually, pressure ridges are dramatic and sculptural. In the evening light they are particularly stunning, reflecting pinks and oranges while showing off their different shades of blue. Before coming down to the ice, an artist who worked here alerted me that one rarely sees pure white in Antarctica. And now, seeing the landscape for myself, it’s amazingly true.
Seal with Mt. Erebus © AHT/Cricket
The route we followed took us out across the sea ice and up and over the ridge to the Ross Sea Ice Shelf. Along the back side of the ridge, as we were about to head back over, we sighted a huge grey-brown ball in the near distance. “A seal!” Diana yelled. We stood silent, watching it lounge about for a while, and trying to find a crack where it might have come up from. We were later told that seals litter the ice during the summer, and a sighting means they are just now returning for the season.