Antarctic Expedition: Day 18/12 Print

December 18th 2014. Today we reached the farthest away point of our crossing, some 200 linear km from Union Glacier. The area we covered is very flat, but is surrounded laterally by small surface undulations, which shows that the subglacial topography is probably a deep valley. We confirmed this with radar data, revealing a subglacial valley of morphology typical of a fjord of glacial origin. In the middle of this valley, we detected an ice thickness of 3350 m, the maximum ice thickness measured by our team to date.

 

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In the daily crossing, a total of 90 km, we continued to install beacons and measure snow densities. Weather conditions were optimal, no wind, splendid sunshine and a very pleasant air temperature that reached a maximum of -11 °C.

 

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Good visibility meant that we could see the ALE base camp in Mount Vinson, situated at some 60 km to the east of our crossing. We rang the base camp by satellite phone and they replied with a mirror of signals to indicate their position. After a few minutes of monitoring the mountains, we were able to see a light gleaming very faintly in the distance. For them we were just one point moving in the infinite Antarctic Shelf, leaving a track of geometric lines all over the white surface.

 

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The day ended with a dinner prepared by Chris, plus beers from Punta Arenas all round.