Life in Antartica

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

At the dorm at McMurdo Station, the ANDRILL crew can shoot pool or watch a movie. There's a "gerbil gym," said Dr. Scott Ishman, a coffee shop and a bar. The station has a post office, hair salon and store.

When the SIU-Carbondale geology professor arrived in early October, the temperature was minus 20 to minus 10 degrees Farenheit. Everyone is issued cold weather gear, including a heavy down parka called Big Red. Now the weather is starting to warm into the teens.

To reach Antarctica, Ishman flew from St. Louis to Christchurch, New Zealand, where he and others boarded a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport for the five-hour flight to McMurdo Station. They landed on a runway made of ice.

This year's ANDRILL team included eight educators from the four countries. They have been conducting research on and office the ice. The educators also have taken an Antarctic geoscience course, and they communicate their experiences with classrooms through Web and video conferences and blogs. The ANDRILL Web site is www.andrill.org.

-- Sam Blackwell

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