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23 November, 2001

Messages recieved from home state that Pennsylvania is experiencing warm weather for the Thankgiving holiday weekend. The South Pole has also been experiencing a warming trend, for the temperature is over 20 degrees warmer today than yesterday. An explanation for this may be that the clouds covering the polar plateau have been swept away by the wind, revealing bright crisp blue skies.

Today, we continued to work outside, laying more cables for the cosmic shower detector we will be installing near the SPASE Shack. We were given a helpful hand by a bulldozer operator who quickly scooped out the tons of snow where we will construct our detector. It would have taken days to complete the job by hand.

The warm temperatures we are experiencing are a little misleading. As we were running the cables, we all got warm due to the many layers of our ECW gear. To prevent sweating, and getting our clothes wet...a big danger, we shed some layers. However, as soon as the physical labor ceased, the cold would immediately pentrate the remaining layers we had on. Once or twice the cold grey signs of frostbite would appear on one of our faces. Fortunately, we were looking out for one another and would immediately return to the SPASE shack to warm up.

When the clouds cleared this afternoon, and the wind died down, the polar plateau become an amazing place. It was so quiet that I immediately thought of Paul Simon's song, "The Sound of Silence." Although the context of the song has nothing to do with Antarctica, the title is perfect for describing the plateau.

With the air less turbulant than normal, it was possible to see a great distance. This proved to be another reminder of how isolated we are. No matter which direction I looked, it was the same view...flat, wind sculptured snow. How difficult it must have been for the early explorers to this region. In the words of Robert Scott upon reaching the South Pole in 1912, "Great God! This is an aweful place!"

Biological Data

Saturated Oxygen: 91

Pulse Rate: 82

Weather Data

Temperature: -38.1

Windchill: -47.9

Standing at the Geographic South Pole.

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