Friday, January 14, 2011

The berms

Science Berm "A"

Boxes on another berm.

Path between the berms.

At the lumber berm.

Spare buildings.

Initially we think of how hard it is, and how expensive it is, to ship anything to the South Pole. From the Continental US (ConUS in military transport parlance) everything ships to Port Huaneme in California, there it goes by ship to Christchurch in New Zealand, after that it's flown by military cargo plane (C-17s mostly) to McMurdo Base on the Antarctic coast, and then finally on a ski-equipped LC-130 Hercules transport to the South Pole. Whew!

Well, this place is actually overflowing with old cargo, some of which has sat for decades. Equipment from old experiments, extra building materials (an entire cargo line just of lumber), shipping crates, mil vans, old sets of stairs, boxed up weatherports (canvas arched buildings), and supplies ordered long-ago which sit, inventoried, but unloved.

One of our colleagues on the South Pole Telescope tells a story from when he was wintering over and needed to use some grease. He found a 55 gallon drum with a Shell logo and a part number, but he wanted to know the specifications so he emailed Shell. This stuff hadn't been made in forty years.

All of these goods are stored in long berms, elevated a few feet above the plowed paths, the contents of the berms have to be hand-shoveled out each year.

No comments:

Post a Comment