Archives for category: Antarctica

In 1939 a 55-foot-long, 37-ton snow vehicle with a planned 8,000-mile range was deployed on Antarctica to explore the continent. It was called The Snow Cruiser. How did it fare? Not so well. If you saw my post from a couple of weeks ago, you know how it’s done today.

Here’s a fascinating look at how supplies travel across the Antarctic, pulled in sled trains by Pistenbully snowcats. Each sled train weighs between 50 and 100 tons. There’s an interesting bit at the end showing how they store all of the supplies over the winter once they reach their location.

Scott Brady, founder Expedition Portal and publisher of the Overland Journal, headed out last month on a two-year trip he and his team are calling Expeditions 7, in which they’ll cover some of the most historically significant overland routes on each of the seven continents, including Antarctica. They recently arrived at the Arctic Ocean, on the first leg of their trip. Read the rest of this entry »

Canadian video editor Luc Bergeron sampled almost 180 clips to create this 4-minute trip around the world. He mated the fast-paced, quick-cutting footage to a haunting song called “Wolf” by the Swedish sister duo, First Aid Kit.

The resulting piece, Welcome to Earth, is remarkably beautiful and will almost certainly spark the urge to travel.

Clicking the still image above or the title link will take you to a page where you can watch the video. It’s definitely full-screen worthy.

The New York Times reports that a Russian research team has drilled through 4 km (2-1/2 miles) of Antarctic ice to reach one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. The lake, about the size of Lake Ontario, had been sealed off for at least the last 15 million years.


If it’s confirmed that the lake contains microbes—according to the article, some were found but it’s not yet clear whether their source was the lake or the drilling fluid—hopes would be raised that Jupiter’s moon Europa, with its liquid water surface encased in ice, and thin, oxygen atmosphere, might also harbor life.

The above video, produced by BBC2 in 2000, is a bit out of date. The technique used to keep the lake water pristine was to pump the drilling fluid out of the borehole so as to reduce the pressure in the shaft. When the surface of the lake was breached, the lake water, itself under pressure from the weight of 4km of ice, shot up through the shaft pushing out any remaining fluid, then refroze at the end of the borehole, forming an icy plug.

Here’s a link to the New York Times article:
Drilling Reaches Lake Vostok, Long Trapped Under Antarctic Ice Sheet

Here’s a link to a Wired article:
Russian Drill Penetrates 14-Million-Year-Old Antarctic Lake

What vehicle did the overland-savvy Australians take with them on a year-long research expedition to Antarctica in 1963? A Land Rover? A Toyota Land Cruiser? No, they took a practically bone-stock VW Beetle.

It looks almost comically unassuming next to the hard-core Swedish Snow Trac seen in the background of one of the shots in the film but the humble Beetle reportedly held its own against the harsh, icy terrain.

There you go, the Type 1 Beetle. The most popular car in the world and the first production car on the Antarctic continent.

Read the rest of this entry »