Most of the flight south is over the Southern Ocean meaning the views from the windows are mostly blue, but once we pass over the Antarctic continent, the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet and Transantarctic Mountains come into view. It is quite a stunning sight as peaks are fully encased in ice and the entire landscape has no colors other than white snow and blue sky.
|The glaciated Transantarctic Mountains in Northern Victoria Land, Antarctica|
|Unloading cargo from the rear of the C-17|
|The C-17 on the ice runway.|
We then boarded a large "people mover" that slowly rolls over the fragile ice road towards McMurdo Station. At McMurdo, we have been busy preparing for camping at remote field sites in McMurdo Sound and in the Transantarctic Mountains. This includes testing out our tents, stoves, satellite phones, and radios, picking up enough food to survive on our own (including plenty of chocolate!), setting up a communication plan with McMurdo Station for safety, and organizing helicopter flights to our field sites. We have been busy!
Tomorrow, Professor Marchant and I will fly via helicopter out to our first field site on Brown Peninsula, an arm of Mt. Discovery, a large, extinct volcano adjacent to McMurdo Sound. We will spend a couple of weeks camping there collecting data to determin the extent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (the peak of the last Ice Age). We will keep you posted with our progress.