Showing posts with label Antarctica. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Antarctica. Show all posts

Monday, July 6, 2020

Onyx River

We just learned about the Subglacial Lakes.

Another part of Antarctica is the Onyx River.

This is the longest river in Antarctica, at 32 kilometers long and ends up at Lake Vanda.
The water for this river is from meltwater, and goes toward the middle of Antarctica away from the ocean, during the summer months.

Water levels change depending on the season, and the river can flow as fast as 20 cubic meters per second. There were even some researchers from New Zealand that rafted down the river one time!

There are no fish in the river, but there are some tiny animals like bacteria and algea living there, along with some gulls that fly around.

Most of the time the water is just barely higher than the 32 degrees F it needs to melt, so it is really ice cold water!

(from: wikipedia - onyx river)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Roundel

Monday, June 29, 2020

Subglacial Lakes

We just learned about the Meltwater.

Another part of Antarctica is the Subglacial Lakes.

We know that sometimes the ice and snow melts and turns into ponds, rivers or lakes.
And sometimes these lakes are way deep down underneath the ice.

Antarctica has hundreds of lakes deep down underneath the glaciers, called "subglacial lakes".

The biggest one that has been discovered is Lake Vostok.
This is down underneath Vostok Station, and the water is over 2 miles below the ice.
Lake Vostok is 160 miles long, 30 miles wide, and 3,000 feet deep.
It has as much water in it as Lake Michigan.

(from: wikipedia - lake vostok)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Palisade

Monday, June 22, 2020


We just learned about the Melt Pond.

Another part of Antarctica is glacial Meltwater.

Sometimes the ice or snow in Antarctica will melt a little, and turn into what is called meltwater.
Meltwater is different than the ocean water around Antarctica because it is fresh water.
This means animals can drink it, and it also means it can mix with the ice and snow of the glaciers and melt and refreeze over and over.
The meltwater usually melts because of the warmer summer weather, from magma underground, or from volcanic eruptions.

If the water stays in one place on top of the snow or ice, that is the melt pond.
Other times the melted snow or ice will turn into a small river and flow across the snow and ice.
There are even times when the snow or ice will melt underneath the top part, and make a small lake underneath the snow or ice.

Sometimes the meltwater is underground and is between two glaciers.
When this happens the glaciers can move around as they are sliding on the water in between.

Scientists study meltwater because it can help them understand climate change and how glaciers move.

(from: wikipedia - meltwater)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Ramparts

Monday, June 15, 2020

Melt Pond

We just learned about the Antarctic Sea Ice.

Another part of the ice Antarctica is the Melt Pond.

Sometimes when it gets warm enough for ice to start melting, the top of it will melt and make a little pond on top of the other ice.
This melt pond area is darker than the white snow colored ice, so it warms up more with the sun and can cause it to melt more and get bigger.
Sometimes melt ponds are on top of sea ice.
If the sea ice melt pond keeps getting deeper as it melts, it will melt all the way through the ice.
Melt ponds are fresh water, but if they melt through to the ocean underneath that is salt water.
The salt water will melt the sea ice even more and make a bigger melt pond.

Other times melt ponds are on top of glaciers.
If a melt pond gets big and deep enough it will just hit the land underneath.

Melt ponds can also be underneath a glacier, like an underground lake.

(from: wikipedia - melt pond)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Moat

Monday, June 8, 2020

Antarctic Sea Ice

We just learned about the South Pole.

Another part of Antarctica is the Antarctic Sea Ice.

We've learned before about the big Antarctic Ice Sheet that covers the continent.
And we've learned about the Ice Shelves that stick out from the Ice Sheet above the water.

The ice shelves are very thick, sometimes 1 kilometer deep.
Sea ice is a lot thinner, and is usually only a few meters thick.
Sometimes it is touching the shelf ice, and sometimes it's just floating out in the ocean close to Antarctica.

During the winters in Antarctica, the frozen sea ice goes out very far from the main land of Antarctica, and then in the summer most of it melts back to the ice shelves.

(from: wikipedia - antarctic sea ice)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Barbican

Monday, June 1, 2020

South Pole

We just learned about Pole of Inaccessibility Research Station.

We learned before about adventurers traveling to the South Pole.

The south pole is at the very bottom of the planet, and at the opposite end of the north pole.
We know the first person to get there was Roald Admundsen, and the Amundsen-Scott station is right at the south pole.

There is a red striped pole with a silver globe on top with flags all around for picture taking at the south pole. This is called the Ceremonial South Pole, and it is a few feet away from the real south pole.
The warmest the south pole has ever been is 9 F, and the coldest ever was -117 F.

There is also the South Magnetic Pole, which is in a different spot.
When you use a compass and one end points north, the other end points south.
This is because the earth's poles are magnetic which helps a lot for travel!
These north and south poles actually move a little based on the changes in the earth under the ground like the moving magma.

There is also the South Geomagnetic Pole, which is in another different spot.
The earth spins around and makes a magnetic field around it.
You can think about it like how static electricity can move things around.
This is really the true magnetic pole, but the moving of magma and other parts of the earth makes the magnetic pole move around and be different than the geomagnetic pole.

Another place is the South Pole of Inaccessibility.
This is the place in the south pole that is the hardest to get to, as it is the farthest place inland from the ocean.
There was a Russian base there for a while but it has been abandoned.

(from: wikipedia - south pole)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Sally Port

Monday, May 25, 2020

Pole of Inaccessibility Research Station

We just learned about the Carlini Base.

Another research base in Antarctica is the Pole of Inaccessibility Research Station.

This is in the place on Antarctica that is the farthest from any point of water where a boat could land with explorers.
Since it's so hard to get to it's called the most inaccessible.

The Russians built a small base for 4 people there in 1958, and they stayed for 8 days and then left.
Since then the base has been covered by snow, and the only part showing is the statue of the old Russian leader Lenin that was on the top of the base.

Some people still visit the spot to do some research, but the base is buried so no one stays there anymore.

(from: wikipedia - pole of inaccessibility (antarctic research station))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Curtain Wall

Monday, May 18, 2020

Carlini Base

We just learned about the Brown Station.

Another base in Antarctica is Carlini Base.

This base is owned by Argentina and is on the Antarctic peninsula, and holds about 60 people.
It was built in 1953, and is used mostly to study the weather, the animals and the ocean.

There are tourists that sometimes come to visit the station, so they have a radio station and a movie theater there for people.
In 2013 the rock band Metallica came down to Antarctica to play a concert, so that they could say they played on every continent.
Because the loud guitars, drums and speakers would hurt the ice, animals and environment down there, they played the concert with no amplifiers, just using their instruments in a special dome that kept in the sounds.

Living by this base are thousands of penguins and hundreds of sea lions that they watch over and study.

(from: wikipedia - carlini base)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Machicolation

Monday, May 11, 2020

Brown Station

We just learned about the Vernadsky Research Base.

Another research station in Antarctica is Brown Sation.

This station is owned by Argentina, and was built in 1951.
In 1984 when winter time was coming, one of the scientists did not want to stay during the cold winter but he was told that he had to.
So because he was mad and didn't want to stay, he burned down the station!
Luckily everyone escaped the fire and survived, and they all had to go home.

The station was rebuilt later on, and has about 18 people staying there.
They have a great lookout point that is 276 feet above the station, where people go to take great pictures.
After taking pictures, they go sledding down the hill back to the station.

It is also a great place for gentoo penguins who love to come visit, and the scientists try to study what they are doing.

(from: wikipedia - brown station)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Battlements

Monday, May 4, 2020

Vernadsky Research Base

We just learned about the Antarctic Palmer Station.

Another research station in Antarctica is Vernadsky Research Base.

This base is owned by the country of Ukrainian, and is on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Because it is on the Peninsula where a lot of changes are happening with icebergs melting and floating away, this base does a lot of studies for global warming.

It is one of the bases that people can visit for fun if they want to say they came to Antarctica.
There is a post office where they sell postcards, and a post office where tourists can send them out.

The station even has a bar where people can play pool and darts.
Faraday Bar calls itself the Southernmost Bar on the Earth, and they have a tourist shop where people can buy patches, stickers and other souvenirs to prove they have been to Antarctica.

(from: wikipedia - vernadsky research base)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Merlon

Monday, April 27, 2020

Palmer Station

We just learned about the ANSMET Station.

Another research station in Antarctica is Palmer Station.

This station is right along the Antarctic Peninsula, and is actually on a small island named Amsler Island.
Because it is right on the water, this station spends most of its time studying the sea and the animals living in it near Antarctica.

There is a boat called the Laurence M. Gould that helps people travel from the station to South America.

(from: wikipedia - palmer station)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Crenel

Monday, April 20, 2020

ANSMET Station

We just learned about the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Station.

Another Antarctic station is ANSMET Station, which stands for Antarctic Search for Meteorites.

This is a station in the Transantarctic Mountains where 4 to 10 people live and collect meteorites.
They go out on snowmobiles and search in the snow for meteorites that are buried in the mountains.

ANSMET was built in the year 1976, and since then they have collected over 20,000 meteorites!
A few meteorites were from the moon, and a few were even from Mars!

(from: wikipedia - ansmet)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Parapet

Monday, April 13, 2020

Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Station

We just learned about the McMurdo Station.

Another research station in Antarctica is Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Station.

This station is owned by Belgium, and was made in 2009 in Queen Maud Land, one of the areas of Antarctica.

It is the only station on the continent that has zero emissions, which means it doesn't cause pollution when it makes energy for the station.

It uses solar panels and wind turbines to capture the sun and wind to use for energy.

The station usually has about 16 scientists at a time, and has a garage to use for snow vehicles that they can drive around.

(from: wikipedia - princess elisabeth antarctica)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Wall Walk

Monday, April 6, 2020

McMurdo Station

We just learned about the Amundsen-Scott - South Pole Station.

Another research base in Antarctica is McMurdo Station.

This is the biggest station in Antarctica, and can have over 1,200 people staying there!

The land is claimed by New Zealand, but the United States runs the base.
This base has an airport where people can land cargo planes, and a port where big ships can dock.
If someone wants to go to the south pole, they first start at the McMurdo station.
People bring supplies to McMurdo base that are then brought to the south pole.

One of the ways people get around at the McMurdo base is a big bus called Ivan the Terra Bus.
It is 46 feet long, 12 feet wide and 14 feet tall, with tires that are over 6 feet tall!
Ivan can carry 56 people, and weighs 67,000 pounds.
With all that weight on the snow it can get up to 26 miles per hour.

(from: wikipedia - mcmurdo station)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Zwinger

Monday, March 30, 2020

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

We just learned about the Orcadas Base.

Another research station in Antarctica is the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

This is a station actually at the North Pole, and was built by the United States in 1956.
A few buildings have been made there, and the one that is there now was built in 2003.
It is 80,000 square feet, two floors and sometimes has up to 200 people living there.

At the south pole it is 6 months of sunshine in the summer and then 6 months of darkness in the winter.
More people live there in the summer to do studies on the life there, and then in the winter the dark skies all day are great for looking at the stars.
In the summer it is usually about -15 degrees F, and in the winter it is usually about -75 degrees F.
The warmest it has ever gotten there was 9.9 degrees F, and the coldest it got was -118 degrees F.

Because so much snow falls at the South Pole, the building can actually be raised or lowered a whole floor to stay above the snow.

(from: wikipedia - amundsen-scott south pole station)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Enceinte

Monday, March 23, 2020

Orcadas Base

We just learned about the explorer Ernest Shackleton.

Another part of Antarctica is the Orcada Base research station.

In the year 1903, there were British explorers to Antarctica who came to set up a building where they could stay and study the life and nature of Antarctica.

After they left to go back home to Scotland, they worked with the people of Argentina to agree to keep the building around for other people to come and do experiments.

The Orcada Base has been around now for over 100 years as a scientific research station in Antarctica where people have come through the years to study the life of Antarctica.

(from: wikipedia - orcadas base)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Bailey

Monday, March 16, 2020

Ernest Shackleton

We just learned about the explorer Robert Falcon Scott.

Another famous Antarctic explorer is Ernest Shackleton.

Shackleton had been on an expedition before with Robert Falcon Scott, but got sick and was sent home.

In 1908 he took a ship called the Nimrod to Antarctica, and were the first team to climb to the top of Mount Erebus, the tallest mountain in Antarctica.

In 1914 Roald Amundsen had already made it to the South Pole, so Shackleton went back to Antarctica to try and be the first person to cross all the way from one side of Antarctica to the other.

Shackleton took 2 ships, the Endurance and the Aurora.
The Endurance would land at the north side by the Weddell sea where they would start their journey, and the Aurora would land at the other side by the Ross sea as the ending point of their journey.

In 1915 the Endurance landed, but got stuck in the ice and sank into the sea.
The crew was stranded there with no way to get home and not enough supplies to get across Antarctica.
Shackleton led some of his men north across some of the ice, and on lifeboats to get hundreds of miles away to an island where they could be rescued.

In 1921 Shackleton was going to lead another expedition to try and sail all the way around Antarctica, but got sick and died before he could go on the journey.

(from: wikipedia - ernest shackleton)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Motte

Monday, March 9, 2020

Robert Falcon Scott

We just learned about the Roald Amundsen.

Another famous Antarctic explorer was Robert Falcon Scott.

He was a British sailor who joined up with a man named Ernest Shackleton for the "Discovery" mission to get to the south pole in 1901.

They landed in Antarctica and did some exploring, but did not make it to the south pole.

Scott went again in 1909 on the "Terra Nova Expedition" and was famous for using motor sleighs for a lot of the work, and also horses as well as dogs.

He was going to the south pole at the same time as Roald Amundsen, but Amundsen got there first.

At the very last part of the trip, he chose 4 men to go to the pole, and sent everyone else back.
On the way the motor sleighs stopped working, so the men had to pull the sleds themselves, but they kept going.

After his team of 4 men made it to the south pole, they took pictures as proof, but on the way back they had many troubles.
The temperature dropped a lot lower, the winds that were supposed to push them along stopped, everyone was getting frostbite, and they ran into some terrible storms.

They finally made it to the place where there was supposed to be some food, and also some sled dogs to help them make the trip back.
Because of the bad weather, the people who were supposed to bring the sled dogs did not make it there in time, and so the four men froze and died.

Later on in November of that year they made a trip out into the cold and found Scott and his men.
They made a grave site there, put up a big cross and named the place Observation Hill.

Before those men died, some of them had dug into the ice and found some fossils, and kept them.
There were over 2,100 things found that they collected and sent back to England to study.

With these discoveries, they proved that at one time Antarctica was warm and had trees before it was all frozen over.

(from: wikipedia - robert falcon scott)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Castles and Palaces

Monday, March 2, 2020

Roald Amundsen

We just learned about Adriene de Gerlache, the first person to explore Antarctica.

Another famous explorer of Antarctica was Roald Amundsen, from Norway.

Amundsen was one of the people who went with Gerlache on the first trip to Antarctica, so he had some idea what to expect down there.
He worked with a famous explorer named Nansen to get a special boat called Fram which was made special so that it would not get stuck in the ice.

Amundsen at first was planning to go to the North pole, but right at the same time the news came in that someone else had just made it to the North pole so he changed his plans.

He started his trip to the South pole starting in the year 1910 AD.
Unlike some other explorers, Amundsen knew that sled dogs were great for traveling in the cold, so he got 100 sled dogs from Greenland.
He knew how cold it got in Antarctica, so he had boots and clothes specially made from seal, reindeer and wolf skins as they were natural protection against the cold.
They made special long skis and long sleds to be used on the glaciers, and big strong tents that could hold up to the wind and cold.

Amundsen knew that people could get sick if they did not eat right, so he made sure they planned to eat lots of seal meat and fruits.
He knew they could go crazy from the cold and darkness, so he brought some wine, some music instruments and records, and thousands of books to give people something to do.

When he landed in the south part of Antarctica by the Ross Ice shelf, they set up a special camp called "Framheim" which meant the home for Fram, their boat.
They built a big shed there to be safe from the cold, and then started making trips out toward the south pole.
Taking the sled dogs, they would travel for about 15 miles and then put up a tent with some supplies called a depot, and then go back.
Every time they would go along, stop at a depot for supplies and then go a little further.
Eventually it was getting too close to winter and they had to stop and wait for months for it to stop.

At the same time that Amundsen was there, some other explorers from Britain were there too, so it was a big race to get there.
The British were using motorized sleds instead of dogs.

In 1911 after being at the pole for eight months, they set out on their trip to the South pole with five people, four sleds and 52 dogs.
They had a very tough time, and lost 40 of their dogs, but finally made it to the South pole and put up their tent.
The name they gave to their tent was Polheim, meaning "Home at the Pole", and they left supplies for any other travelers that might make it there.

They went back to their ship and went home to Norway where they were made heroes and given the Norwegian South Pole medal Sydpolsmedaljen.

(from: wikipedia - amundsen's south pole expedition)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Frankenstein Castle