Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

Ross Sea Pressure Ridges

The pressure ridges formed in front of Scott base are generally off limit to the McMurdo residents unless on a guided tour.  I was lucky enough to be invited, along with others from the medical clinic, for a tour of the pressure ridges by the New Zealand medic.  She is the equivalent of an EMT in the states.  After a delicious dinner at Scott Base, we put on our warm clothes and hiked out to the ridges.  The group brought two long wooden poles on the hike to assist in locating dangerous cracks in the ice.  The poles can also be used to assist in a rescue if someone were to fall in a crack or seal hole.  The Kiwis do an excellent job flagging the pressure ridges to make it a safe experience.

The pressure ridges are surreal.  The brilliant blue and flowing shapes cannot be captured on film.  We had a slightly overcast day, which did not help the photography.  The pressure ridges are formed when the Ross Sea Ice is pushed up against the thicker Ross Ice Shelf by tides and wind.  The pressure ridges also form a great environment for the seals, and we were lucky enough to see a newborn seal pup.


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4 responses

  1. Kelly

    what a day you had!
    love you!

    November 1, 2010 at 2:42 AM

  2. mom

    this would be the perfect time to read Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. you would be so much more able than me to envision what they had to haul sleds over, what they endured, what they ate. It was one of the most fascinating books I have ever read, none the less! Love you – Mom

    November 6, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    • It is in the plans, but I might wait until after I leave Antarctica. It might be Antarctica overload. I have heard good reviews of many of the books about the Antarctic expeditions.

      November 6, 2010 at 5:11 PM

  3. mom

    I think the things that make Shackleton’s story stand out include his leadership ability to return all 27 men safely after enduring over a year stuck in the sea ice on their ship and having to abandon it and incredibly get to land. Then, they had a photographer aboard and many of the photos were saved (another incredible feat) so there is a whole book of the photos. Can see why you might want to read it later. Has been fun having TJ here – but he wants to be there! love, mom

    November 8, 2010 at 5:28 AM

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