"Pack Ice: sea ice made up of a floating mosaic of unconnected plates of ice that is free to drift with currents, tides and wind"
(New Zealand National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research)
This section of the website contains a wide range of diverse and interesting material that is well worth your time to explore. You never know what might show up here, so check back often!
Amory "Bud" Waite Letter - One of His Last
Amory "Bud" Waite began his polar career on the second Byrd Antarctic Expedition in 1933. Among other highlights, Bud was on the team that made a harrowing winter rescue that saved Admiral Byrd at his Advance Base 100 miles south of Little America on the Ross Ice Shelf. He went on to make contributions to Polar science, including developing the first electronic ice depth measurement instrument. He was dying of cancer in 1983 when he wrote this letter to a friend at the Washington Post newspaper, reminiscing about his career. Thanks to John Dilks for providing and allowing us to use this letter. Click HERE to read.
Henry Worsley perishes attempting to complete Shackleton Solo Expedition
Antarctican Society member Henry Worsley was attempting an unprecedented feat of Antarctic endurance: the first unsupported and unassisted solo crossing of Antarctica. Sadly, he passed away in a Punta Arenas hospital after being evacuated near the end of his trans-continental trek. To hear his audio diary and read more on his historic trip, click HERE. Further information posted in the online version of The Guardian newspaper may be viewed by clicking HERE.
"A job like any other, a life like any other"
Dr. Vladislav Rogozov had faced life-or-death decisions before but never when he himself was the patient. As winterover physician at the Soviet station Novoazarevskaya, he developed acute appendicitis in May, 1961 after the station had entered the total isolation of winter. It was impossible to get help from the outside and only he had the skills to save his life. To learn what he did, click HERE. Copyright British Medical Journal.
USS Edisto Cruise Book 1963
This Navy cruise book was graciously shared courtesy of Austin Schroder, who served aboard the icebreaker USS Edisto during its 1963 Operation Deep Freeze voyage. It is an account of the ship, crew and operations during that summer season. Click HERE to view the document.
South Pole Yearbook 1957
This is the first book to be published at the geographic South Pole, compiled by the crew that spent the first winter at South Pole Station in 1956-57. It includes a forward by Station Leader Dr. Paul Siple, autobiographies of each winterover crew member, and discussions of the work accomplished at the station. This yearbook was graciously shared courtesy of Cliff Dickey, who was a Navy Electronics Technician on that first winterover crew. Click HERE. to view the document.
Ferguson Tractors in Antarctica
The Ferguson Enthusiasts of North America (FENA), in their magazine "Ferguson Furrows," published in 2012 a two-part article on the important role the Ferguson tractor has played in Antarctic exploration. This detailed and richly illustrated article focuses on the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1955-58, during which Sir Edmund Hillary used the indomitable Fergusons to traverse to the geographic South Pole. "Ferguson Furrows" also published an article in the October, 2012 issue by Canadian Graeme Connell, a first-hand account of his use of the Ferguson in Antarctica. The Antarctican Society is grateful to FENA, and to the organizations and individuals that provided source material for these articles, for allowing access to these articles on our website. The FENA website is www.fergusonenthusiasts.org. To view these articles, click the links below. Copyright 2012 FENA.
Bach of the Antarctic
Who would have guessed that the first intrepid explorer of the Antarctic Continent was none other than Johann Sebastian Bach? Yes, that Bach. This short film includes a cameo appearance by our own Antarctican Society Past President, Dr. Art Ford. To learn more about this previously unknown connection of history, first plant tongue firmly in cheek and then click HERE.
First Welcome Manual of McMurdo Station 1956-57
This is the original manual compiled by the crew that built and spent the first winter at McMurdo Station in 1956-57. At that time, it was not called McMurdo but rather the Williams Air Operating Facility. This manual was submitted courtesy of David Grisez, who was a Navy Machinery Repairman on that crew. Click HERE to view the document.
Mapping Amundsen's and Scott's Routes through the Transantarctic Mountains Fifty Years Later
Peter Otway was a young surveyor when he participated in the 1961-62 Southern Party which explored and mapped the Queen Maud Range under New Zealand's Reconnaissance Mapping Programme. During that season, his team became the second group of explorers to navigate down the Axel Heiberg Glacier, the treacherous path that Roald Amundsen's team followed to reach the Pole in 1911. This is Peter's account of that experience. Click HERE. to view the document
U.S. IGY Roster 1957-58
This roster of the U.S. IGY Program was compiled by the Geophysics Research Board. It is based primarily on the names of scientific participants that appear in the "IGY General Report No. 21, Report on the U.S. Program for the International Geophysical Year, July 1, 1957 - December 31, 1958", issued by the Geophysics Board in November, 1965, and the report "Operation Deep Freeze - Third Phase: 1957-58". Click HERE. to view the document.
Construction and Abandonment of Wilkes Station
Dr. Ralph Glasgal was one of the first scientists to occupy Wilkes Station during the IGY studying aurora physics. He created this presentation as a slide show to document the construction, occupation and abandonment of Wilkes. Click HERE. to view the document.
On the Current Location of the Byrd "Snow Cruiser" and Other Artifacts from Little America I, II, III and Framheim
This article, authored by Dr. Ted Scambos and Clarence Novak, appeared in Polar Geography, Volume 29, Number 4, October-December 2005 , pp. 237-252(16). Analysis of maps, sightings, satellite images, and aerial photos indicates that a ~105 km2 section of the eastern side of the Bay of Whales, containing the buried remains of several bases from the "heroic era" of Antarctic exploration, calved away around late 1961. A small iceberg from this event (or closely spaced events), with the remains of Little America III exposed in the ice face, was sighted in February 1963 near the western Ross Ice Shelf front. Satellite observations of more recent calving events show that most small icebergs from the Bay of Whales area drift westward and repeatedly impact the shelf, fragmenting as they move. This implies that a number of artifacts from the bases, such as the 1939-1941 Snow Cruiser, are likely strewn along the seabed near the 1962 ice-front position. Major Ross Ice Shelf calvings of 2000 and 2002 have removed the ice cover from parts of the 1962 front area for the first time since that period. Thus a search for the artifacts is technically more feasible for the next few years until shelf ice flow re-covers the area. You can read this article by clicking HERE.
The NSF/OPP Contribution To Antarctic Glaciology
Dr. Terry Hughes composed this personal perspective on the NSF-supported glaciological program in Antarctica. Dr. Hughes participated in this program for many years, so his insights are based largely on first-hand experience.
This paper, dated 30 October 2010, was revised May 1, 2011, for publication, along with the new title of 'United States Contribution to Antarctic Glaciology: A Personal Perspective.' The text was modified on the first page with much of the international aspects of the 1950-1960 period of the Cold War being deleted in order to include information about Antarctica only. In addition, the end of the text had a minor deletion.
The revised chapter is in the book "Ice Sheets: Dynamics, Formation and Environmental Concerns," Jonas Muller and Luka Koch, editors, published by Nova Scientific Publishers, Inc., Hauppauge, NY, in 2012; ISBN 978-1-61942-367-1; online price $135.00.
You can read this interesting summary by clicking HERE.
Using Tourism to Protect Antarctica
Antarctic tourism has been somewhat controversial. A number of Society members have been and continue to be guest lecturers on these cruises. This article makes the case that tourism has been a positive force for preserving the Last Place on Earth. Read the article by clicking HERE.
The South Pole Winter Experience
Wintering in Antarctica is always a challenging experience. Wintering at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is perhaps the most challenging of all the American bases because of the elevation (9000+ feet above sea level), cold (record -117 F), period of no sun (6 months) and extreme isolation (no possible access for 7-8 months).
The papers below represent two perspectives on the winterover. The first was written by Dick Wolak as a Masters degree thesis at Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dick was the South Pole Station Manager during the transitional year of 1974-75 during which the original Pole Station established during the IGY was abandoned in favor of the new domed Pole Station. His account and analysis of managing a team in extreme isolation is a fascinating glimpse into the challenges he faced. Read it by clicking the link below:
The second paper was written by Marc Levesque, Logistics Coordinator at South Pole Station during the 1981-82 winterover. Marc planned and conducted a series of interviews of the Pole crew during the winter to assess how his colleagues were adaptating to the long winterover.These interviews eventually became part of his graduate work at the University of Southern Maine. It is a different perspective from Dick's, but no less valid as an insight into how people deal with the challenge of wintering at the bottom of the world. Read it by clicking the link below:
July, 2008 IGY Gathering
Paul Dalrymple, Antarctican Society Treasurer and long-time editor of the Society's Newsletter, hosted another of his infrequent gatherings at his house in Port Clyde, Maine. The the purpose of this one was to bring together Antarctic veterans of the original International Geophysical Year (IGY) during the 50th anniversary of that historic global project. Read the full story HERE.
USGS Open-File Report 1946-2006 by Tony Meunier
Long-time Antarctican Society member and former President Tony Meunier developed this compilation of USGS Antarcticans and cachets over many years. This is an excellent summary of the USGS participants and projects from the beginning of the Geological Survey's involvement in the U.S. Antarctic Program. Read the document by clicking HERE.
The Signature of Glacier Ice
Article No.1of this piece of Antarctic research by long-time Society member John Splettstoesser appeared in OFF BELAY mountaineering magazine. Article No.2 appeared in the Journal of Irreproducible Results, the scientific humor magazine (www.jir.com) and is reproduced here with their permission. John has been waiting for the Nobel Committee to call ever since. It remains a unique "scientific" achievement. Read this seminal document by clicking HERE.