Posts Tagged ‘twinotter’

Take to the Hills!

January 3, 2011

It occurred to me today that our study site is more remote than any other place I’ve been, by a decent margin. If the zombie apocalypse were to reach Antarctica the day after they dropped us off there, we’d have a lengthy distance to traverse, through harsh conditions, before we got back to the station–which is, itself, quite far away from the nearest truly habitable land. It’s possible to survive for a while in Antarctica by living off of fresh meat and burning blubber for heat (I think this is how Shackleton’s men survived when they were stranded on Elephant Island) but it’s not an especially pleasant experience, nor would it probably be sustainable in the long term.

In any case, being curious about just how far from station we would be, I made a map. Google Maps seems to have added considerably better imagery for this area since I tried it out on my first trip down. (I’m working on adding some of the interesting places around station to the map, as well as the further-out field sites.)

Map of McMurdo and surrounding areas

You can see that the Allan Hills area–up in the top left-hand corner of this map–is only about 140 miles/220 kilometers away from McMurdo “as the skua flies.” It’d be a bit longer if you had to find a route across the ice, supposing the sea ice was even intact enough to allow you to get to Ross Island.

In reality we won’t be too far away, just an hour’s ride in a Twin Otter, but it’ll be quite an experience regardless.