GETTING TO THE ICE
It was the day after my arrival in Christchurch, New Zealand, and I headed into the Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) to try on my extreme cold weather gear. When I walked in, I found a group of people staring intently at a sheet of paper on the wall. Curious, I joined them and tried to find out what was going on.
The paper was the passenger
manifest list. It showed that there were about 20 of us going to the
ice the next day. But people wanted to know another piece of information.
"What kind of plane we flying?" I heard someone ask. "A
C-141," another person answered. "Alriiight!" exclaimed
PEGASUS WHITE ICE RUNWAY
The kind of plane you ride depends
on the time of year, which influences the condition of McMurdo Station's
three runways. The first flights into Antarctica after the winter
occur in late August and are known as the
Pegasus is about 18 miles from McMurdo
and is situated on 110-feet thick ice on the McMurdo ice shelf. The
ice is covered with three to four inches of compacted snow and hence
is known as white ice. Glaciologist Dr. Andrew Fountain of Portland
State University explains that an ice shelf is the part of a "glacier
on land that has flown out over the ocean." He thinks of it as
"a floating glacier."