Introducing Mystery Class #8
The staff at McMurdo Station supports the National Science Foundation in their effort to provide scientific information to the world regarding animal life, studies of the ozone layer, and various other scientific studies.
McMurdo is located on Ross Island, which is actually 65 miles from Antarctica, and 785 miles from the South Pole. Antarctica is not owned by any nation; rather, different countries "claim" unique areas of the continent.
The climate is one of the driest in the world. Although there is plenty of snow here, this location actually is on a desert. There are several animals here that you may only get to see in a zoo. Down here, you could walk to the sea ice and see Weddell Seals, Emperor and Adeli Penguins, and Orca Whales. One of the oldest fish on earth also makes its home here--the Antarctic Cod.
From a Camp to a Station
The first building was built by Admiral Scott, who was a famous explorer in Antarctica. 'Scott's Hut' was built as stop-off point for him and his crew when they were exploring this area of the world. Since his famous exploration, the United States Navy revitalized the area and built new buildings overlooking the old one that Scott built. This new place was called McMurdo.
Polar Melting Pot
The air here is so clean that at the South Pole they have the lowest pollution content in the world. Also at the South Pole, they are in the process of building a new station. This will take close to 5 years to complete. The reason they need to do this is because the current station or 'Dome' is getting crushed and moved every year from the deep snow surrounding it. They hope to continue doing research here well into the next century.
McMurdo is the largest Station on Antarctica, and is more than 10 times larger than the South Pole station. All the supplies that are needed by the United States research camps, South Pole and all the other places here on this continent have to come through here.
Spring and Summer in Antarctica
The spring here comes as autumn begins in Earth's northern hemisphere, and it's the dawn of a new day in Antarctica. For a small band of scientists andtechnicians who wintered over at the south pole, it's time for supply drops, mail, and fresh fruit. Outside the temperature begins to climb from a frigid -70 deg. C to -25 degrees. Spring is in the air. What triggers this south pole revolution? It's called the autumnal equinox.
When a supply ship arrives, the "off loading" is really something to see. Everyone in town works around the clock to get the ship empty and then put all the junk we're sending back on to the ship. It moves fast because everyday in port is costing the company umpteen thousand dollars.
McMurdo is very busy during the austral summer, with a population of up to 1500. This is the time when most scientific research is completed.
We Have Emperors Here
Long, Dark Winter
Well, now you know that people actually live and work in Antarctica!
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