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CECs, Centro de Estudios Científicos (Center for Scientific Studies) is a private, non-profit corporation, devoted to the development, promotion and diffusion of scientific research. CECs was founded in 1984 as the Center for Scientific Studies of Santiago and has since been directed by physicist Claudio Bunster.



Antarctic Expedition: Day Report 12/23 PDF Print E-mail

December 23rd, 2014. Today, after a total of 21 days in Antarctica we finished our journey in the interior plateau. The day started with the last detail measurements and then travel over 100 km to leave the Plateau and go down to the Hewette Path route that will take us to the Union Glacier where we hope to arrive on Christmas Eve.

 

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This road through the mountains links the interior plateau to the valleys of the Ellsworth Mountains. This road was one of the 4 options we recommend in 2008 as a possible route to join the Union Glacier with the interior plateau. In 2009, Tim Hewette and three climbers from ALE went over the area on snow bikes and they confirmed that this valley had the best conditions. In 2010 we explored the road and detected numerous field cracks, we even broke a snow bridge on the cruise but we achieved to pass and to map the area. So now ALE keeps this road as an Antarctic highway where they filled with snow the field cracks of the track. Despite all that work, nowadays, the transit through this valley is something we all take very seriously, so the convoy gets disconnected and goes up into two parts.

 

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Before going up (or going down in this case), we should wait for two specialists in crevasse rescue of ALE, who are coming on strung snow bikes and with all the necessary equipment in case there is an event to mourn. They go up first, they checked that everything is fine and then guard the convoy. We go into our CECs1 module and we must put harnesses with basic ice climbing tools. The transit lasts about 10 minutes until we arrive to the bottom of the road; we met up with the rest of the convoy and continue the march. Our last hours in the Antarctic plateau were quiet, arduous, and with some nostalgia. The white and endless surface over 2,000 meters above the sea level where we have been starts to left behind, and while some of its secrets have been revealed others will continue being hidden under thousands meters of ice waiting us to return. We have planted of beacon the always white prairie, which will give us evidence of what happens in the middle of the endless density during the long night ahead.

 

Our radar penetrated the ice discovering a complex, unknown and wonderful world. However, we have not entered all that we wanted, so we must find more powerful equipment and measurement systems because our thirst for exploration does not expire. Until now we count nearly 1000 km of measurements, with millions of data in an unknown area for the standards of our era and therefore it constitutes the “terra ignota” of our days, it is the target of the map we started coloring.

 

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Few of us are lucky because we have arrived here with this mission; we have measured “in situ” the frozen desert and now we will return to tell. We hope to do that in the next flight of the Ilyushiyn IL76, which is scheduled for January 29th.