Monday, March 31, 2008

Microtektites Found in Antarctica

Microtektites were discovered in the Transantarctic Mountains. Microtektites are described by this article as "tiny beads of meteor impact glass." These microtektites are linked to an unknown crater created 800,000 years ago. The new discovery increases the debris range by 2,000 miles. Were the meteor crashed causing the melted rock to be thrown in the air and rain back down over such a wide area is unknown and may never be known because it potentially has since been covered by the ocean and covered with sediment.

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Call for Reduced Shipping Around Antarctica

Here is a good article about the threat increased ships and ship accidents in the Antarctica increase the environmental threats to the Antarctic ecosystems. The article talks about environmental groups calling for greater shipping restrictions for the Antarctic region. The main issue is that ships not equipped to be in the Antarctic water conditions are increasingly ending up here, especially as tourist vessels, and resulting in oil spills when they get grounded, hit ice, or sink (like the M/V Explorer did in November 2007). The most interesting thing the article talks about is how the heavy oil used by most ships is even harder to clean up in the cold Antarctic waters than when it oil spills happen in warmer waters. The call for increased regulations include requiring the use of marine gas oil, which causes less damage when oil spills occur and are already in use by British Antarctic Survey vessels.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fall Out Boy Concert in Antarctica Cancelled

The Fall Out Boy concert has been delayed, but now I have found an article that they had to cancel it. They were forced to cancel due to weather conditions, but here is an article that says they plan to do a seven continent tour again in the future as soon as the end of this year. Maybe, by then I will have the clue who the heck they are, but I doubt it, as I not much of a music person and barely even know the singers of my favorite songs.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fedor Faces Ice Troubles

Here is an update on Fedor's circumnavigating of Antarctica on the Antarctic Cup route. The inner lanes of the route continue to be filled with icebergs. He has been instructed to go within the 45 degrees to 44 degrees latitude in a temporary rules relaxation. The article talks about how if he had stayed in the Inner Lane after Cape Horn he would be chipping ice off the boat as the water temperatures are near 0 there.

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Czech Antarctic Expedition a Success

Here is an article about the Czech Republic's Antarctic expedition expedition. The expedition at the Johann Gregor Mendel Czech Antarctic Station on James Ross Island and were part of a long-term study researching the effects of global warming in extreme climates. This year's expedition is being considered a great success in part due to good weather that allowed to work in field camps and sites farther from the base. The article also talks about their work related to ozone depletion and the increase in UV rays reaching the earth.

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Fall Out Boy's Trip to Antarctica Delayed

I originally wrote about them playing in Antarctica this week in this post. I noticed an article today about their trip being delayed due to weather. They are still hoping to do to the concert to set the record for shortest time to play all seven continents and are in Chile awaiting for clearance basically.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

NASA Inflatable Lunar Habitat

I wrote about NASA unveiling an inflatable Lunar habitat back in November, but never did locate more info on it until now. Honestly, I kind of forgot about it and did not really try very hard to find more info after the press release and just stumbled across a new article about the habitat today. This inflatable structure is one of the prototypes to possibly used on a space mission to the moon, which NASA wants to do again before 2020. It is being tested in Antarctica to see how it stands up to extreme conditions. They plan to decide by 2012 if this is a viable shelter option.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

British Send UAVs Flying Over Antarctica

UAVs stands for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The British Antarctic Survey has successfully completed a series of flights with these robotic airplanes. So far they have been flown over 20 flights lasting around 40 minutes each. The planes make measurements "about the exchange of heat between the lower atmosphere and sea ice." The planes basically look like large model airplanes (see a photo of one along with the original article here). It is interesting how this technology is harder to operate in the Antarctic, but overall easier to operate here than some other locales because safety wise there is not much to run into.

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Megaherbs Flourished in Antarctica in Past

Yes, there are plants in Antarctica today. They are mostly lichen, but in the past Antarctica is believed to have been covered with more complex plant species. This article talks about how giant flowers known as megaherbs found on Australia and New Zealand's sub-Antarctic islands are probably survivors of the same species that covered Antarctica before the last ice age 2 million years ago. These plants are believed to have started in Antarctica and spread to the sub-Antarctic islands where they remain today. The same species in Antarctica, of course, cannot survive in the current conditions on the continent, which first became inhospitable for these plants about 1.8 million years ago. They are still not entirely sure about the method of being transported to the sub-Antarctic islands, but could have been seabirds carrying the seeds in their feathers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

NBC Reporters Antarctic Cruise Experience

When I started reading this article I was not planning on blogging on it because it is not all that unique in that is basically another article about a pretty normal tourist cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula. What caught my attention, though, is when halfway through the article he mentions his ship. It is part of a blog on his trip, which is supposedly full of bumps, but they appear to be all personal things like lost luggage and not really of interest in relation to Antarctica. This entry ends without talking about being on Antarctica, but it seems there will be another installment later in this series. Anyways what caught my attention, though, is when halfway through the article he mentions his ship. It is the M/V Polar Star, which is the same ship I went on.

Fall Out Boy to Play in Antarctica

Here is an interesting article for Fall Out Boy fans. Personally, though, I do not even know who they are besides they sound familiar. All I know is they are some popular band with teenagers and they plan to play a concert in Antarctica on March 25, A company is even offering a day trip to see their concert, which I assume is a flight from Chile to the Antarctic location, for $2,500. They will be the first band to play on all seven continents.

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Children in Worcestshire Learn About Climate Change and Antarctica

Here is an article about students at a school in Worcestshire, England, learning about climate change. As part of an assembly on climate change they got to have a live telephone conversation with famous explorer, Robert Swan, who was in the Antarctic region. They did not just hear from him, but got to interact by asking him questions about his experience in Antarctica.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

US Grant Awarded to Help Preserve Scott Hut

The US-based Getty Foundation has awarded a grant to the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust. The $200,000 will go towards helping conserve the Scott Expedition Base. More specifically it will be used to install snow deflectors. This base was used by Scott on his last Antarctic expedition, which ended fatefully for him. The grant is being matched by an unnamed British foundation.

Related Posts:

Tasmanian Ranger to Help in the Restoration of Scott's Hut
Tea to Help Preserve Scott's Hut

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Fedor Faces Problems Beyond Icebergs

Here is another update about Fedor's sailing around the Antarctic continent. This article is about him facing major rudder problems, although it does not seem to have phased him much.

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Antarctic Full Marathon Winners

Last week I found an article about the winner of the Antarctic Half Marathon. Today I noticed an article about the winners of the full marathon. The women winners were twins, Maria and Catharina Schilder, from the Netherlands. The man that won was Robert Celinski from Poland.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fedor Konyukkov Passes Half Way Point

Today I noticed another article about Fedor Konyukkov's progress in sailing around Antarctica. He has now passed the halfway point in sailing on his own around the continent. The half way point is Gate 9, which is named after Ernest Shackleton. The article also talks about the Antarctic Convergence Zone and Iceberg Alley. Additionally, he continues to be routed above this zone because parts of the track are close due to icebergs.

Read the article here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chile Re-Opens Arturo Prat Base

This week Chile re-opened it's Arturo Prat Base in Antarctica, which was closed back in 2004. The base was opened for the first time in the 1940s. One of the reasons behind reopening it is to assert their presence and back up the rights they claim to the continent in lieu of the recent claims of seabed by countries, such as the United Kingdom. Now they are actually using this in compliance with the regulations in Antarctica and it is a scientific base just like other countries. To be added to the base is a multipurpose science lab and a museum focusing on Chile's past involvement in Antarctica.

Here is an article about the base re-opening.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mysterious Meteorites Found in Antarctica

Today I found a National Geographic article about scientists being baffled about the origins of meteorites found in Antarctica. The meteorites were found in 2006 and were originally thought to be from the moon or Venus. Further science investigation about what the meteorites are made out of has proved that these origins are unlikely. The article not only has a good in depth look at the scientists uncertainty, but also what they know about the make up of their unique meteorites.

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Update on Russian Sailing Around Antarctica

Here is an update on Fedor Konyukhov's progress in attempting to sail around Antarctica on his own. He has currently around Cape Horn and facing the famous bad weather conditions of wind and rough seas here. Just reading how he cannot always tell the difference between ocean and sky and the radar sounding alarms and false alarms for icebergs makes you realize that man sure does not control everything and are not even able to predict everything. It also shows that Fedor Konyukhov has that explorer spirit that you do not see too much of anymore.

Antarctic Ice and Climate Change

Today I published a HubPage on Antarctic Ice and Climate Change that I thought might interest my blog readers. It is not exactly something I recently researched, so I admit it may be a little out of date in data, but it was most recently edited only a year ago, thus it is still mostly accurate. It is mostly about the effects of climate change being already seen in Antarctica and how it relates to the animals, such as Adelie Penguins, in the region.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Interesting Antarctica vs. Arctic Australian News Article

I found this interesting article today that boasts about the political claims over the Arctic are a heated subject while the Antarctic is rather a cold war with no disputes over its seabed. Well, the article does make sense in that it points out how an international treaty does prevent taking advantage of natural resources in the Antarctic and overall the territorial claims in the Antarctic are not made into a big international issue. It does, however, ignore the fact that countries are making very similar seabed claims in Antarctica just like the ones it criticizes happening up north. No, the south is not any better in this respect, but hey I agree with the overall bias that Antarctic is better than the Arctic. Just do not think the facts should be ignored that the Antarctic is not immune to countries fighting over its territory.

Below is a list of the past blog posts I have done about news articles related to the territorial claims in Antarctica. This is not all inclusive of the countries claiming parts of Antarctica, but just examples to show why I am critizing the author of the article ignoring the fact that similar claims are going on in the south.

Chile's Claim
UK Claim

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Russian Deputy Premier Visits Antarctica

Here is an article about the First Russian Deputy Premier visiting Antarctica. The reason for the visit is to solve transportation problems that Russian researchers face, hence the reason the Russian Transport Minister was part of the dignitaries visiting Antarctica.

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Winner of the Antarctic Half Marathon

I know the marathon was finished on March 3rd, but I had forgotten about it until I finally came across a news story today. The winner of the 9th Annual Antarctic Half Marathon was Greg Hales from Aptos, California, with a time of 1 hour 42 minutes and 15 seconds. There were 221 participants from 18 countries.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

100th Anniversary of First Ascent of Mount Erebus

Tomorrow (March 10th) is the 100th Anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Erebus, which is largest active volcano on the continent of Antarctica. The group that first climbed this mountain were part of Shackleton's 1907-1909 expedition. The anniversary is being celebrated in what may seen an old location of Sorocco, New Mexico, but it relates to Mount Erebus in that this is where the Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory is located.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Another Update on Russian Sailing Around Antarctica

The Russian continues his journey of setting a record of sailing around Antarctica. Here is a recent article about his progress. He is nearing Cape Horn and due to icebergs part of the Inside Lane of the Antarctic Cup track has been closed.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Antarctic Book: Troubling a Star by Madeleine L'Engle

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I was out of the country last week. On my flight home I finally finished an Antarctic fiction book I started many months ago. Troubling a Star is a fictional account of a high school girl going on an Antarctic cruise. Along the way she receives warnings of politic trouble in the Antarctic and ends up an innocent person targeted as a threat to those with a political agenda on the cruise. From the beginning you know she ends up left on an iceberg because the book starts with her on an iceberg and then flashes back to the story of how she ended up there. Wanting to know how she got there and if and how she is rescued is what made me want to keep reading the book, however I will admit the first half of the book was slow reading. Once I got to the part where she was actually on her Antarctic cruise about half way through the book I found the book interesting and hard to put down. Thus overall I rate this is a good fictional book with a great description of the general aspects of an Antarctic cruise that I could recognize similarities with my own Antarctic cruise experience. The beginning does not exactly hook you into reading the book, but in the end retrospectively looking back at the first half of the book the background provided is what makes the book all the more interesting in the outcome.