Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

South Pole Station from the Air

Here are some aerial photos of South Pole Station. I wish I had gotten to take them, but I found them on our common drive.


Above is an overview of the station. The main station is on the left with the berms stretching out above it. To the right are different science buildings. At the top right is our drill camp.


This photo gives a sense of the remoteness of the Antarctic Plateau. In reality, we are only a couple of kilometers away from the station.


Here is a close up of our drill site. At the top, the long red and white tent is our drill shelter. Moving down the picture, the brown building is Graceland, where we dry our drill suits to get the drilling fluid out. Next, the red and white square structure is the MEC, our warming area. The final building, a black rectangle, is The Duke, our outhouse. You can also see the red van we commute to the site in on the left of the MEC. The rest of the stuff is our equipment. There is a generator, barrels of drilling fluid, and lots of crates that we shipped the drill down in.


This is a photo of three different science buildings. On the left is the IceCUBE building. IceCUBE is a neutrino observatory that consists of 86 sensor string put into the ice between 1500 and 2500 m depth. Holes were drilled using hot water and then the sensors lowered down. On the right are two buildings for astronomy: BICEP2 which is looking at the Big Bang using long wavelengths and the South Pole Telescope.


This is the main station and the berms I mentioned above. The berms are where all the cargo that can freeze is stored. The cargo is put up on berms to minimize the amount of drifting snow that accumulates. The berms are in straight lines so that when they do get buried, you can easily find where to start shoveling.


Almost all of that cargo arrived by plane, as did all of the materials for the buildings. This is a shot of the airstrip where the Hercules LC-130s land, as well as smaller aircraft. About the only thing at South Pole that does not arrive by air is fuel, which in the last few years is being put in large bladders and pulled in by tractors from McMurdo.

One response

  1. Enjoyed the pictures, would love to work there one day ! Currently I am working 320 miles inside the arctic circle but want come south one day soon ! Stay warm 🙂

    February 4, 2015 at 2:53 AM

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