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6 September, 2003

A Giant Iceberg

Back in March of 2000, a giant iceberg calved off the Ross Ice Shelf. At 180 by 22 miles it is one of the largest ever recorded. This iceberg has been given the name B-15 and it is sitting out in the Ross Sea about 200 miles from here waiting to drift away. Its current position is such that it has made it difficult for the sea ice to thaw at McMurdo. While almost 90 percent of it is underwater, its deepest point is thought to be about 1400 feet below sea level. It is large enough to cover all the land on Earth with half an inch of water. I attach a picture of it. Also, you can see the Ross Ice Shelf, which is where our balloons have been landing. Later we will fly out and pick up the expensive ones. It is important when we launch that we check the weather, otherwise the winds could take them to the edge of the Ross Sea. I wonder what the penguins would do with them.

Today we had a lesson on safety around the base. I learned of the many accidents and deaths here at McMurdo from people falling into crevasses. These are cracks in the glaciers or sea ice that surround us. All trails are flagged, a black flag on a trail indicates danger (a yellow indicates a place to urinate). Radios are issued and you must check in and out at the fire station so that everyone knows where you are. Spent the rest of the day at work, and learned more about ozone. Tomorrow we have a launch scheduled.

B-15's current position. It's length is about how far away we are from it.

An attentive student at Ozone School.

A rock the size of my fist. This kind of rock is everywhere on Ross Island.

I have to walk up the hills to get sun on my face.

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