English, as She is Spoke at McMurdo and Pole.

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K K M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


One of the 8 parts of the Elevated Station at South Pole, located along the windward side of the structure, between the Galley and B2 A3 contains Medical and the public computer lab upstairs, and the Store, Post Office, the Green House and the Arts & Crafts room downstairs.
All Call
The PA system at Pole. The most frequent information heard over the all call is flight updates (and cancellations), followed by fire alarms. Heard less often, but nearly as important, are calls for volunteers to help unload DNF cargo like mail or freshies.
Annex, The
The add-on to Science, built a few years later to add another 8 berthing rooms under the Dome. The rooms were larger than in Upper Berthing, but most of them get more noise from around the dome and from activity in Science. The Annex was vacated at the beginning of the 2006 Winter Season.
Airport of Departure, formerly known as your POO, the place you came from and the place they will send you back to when your deployment is up.
Atmospheric Research Observatory, the primary structure in the Clean Air Sector. It replaced the former Clean Air building in 1997, shortly after my first trip to Pole. The experiments run out of ARO measure the carbon dioxide content of the air, as well as several other long-term climatological studies. It's the lab for several NOAA personnel at Pole.
Depending on the year, it stands for Antarctic Support Associates, the primary civilian contractor to the NSF from 1990-2000, or Antarctic Support Activities, a naval detachment in the 1960s.
All-hands Meetings
A term inherited from the military for a staff meeting where all personnel are expected to attend. Topics include rumor control, introduction of new Station Mangement and other announcements affecting the entire station. They tend to happen about monthly, more often when things get too exciting.
Arrival Heights
Named by Scott, it's the area above McMurdo. From there, it is possible to see Inaccessible Island. In modern times, it's the location of some sensitive instrumentation and is off limits to most personnel.
One of the telescopes in the Dark Sector at Pole. Its detectors are bathed in liquid helium and are sensitive to sub-milimeter wavelengths of radio waves. The AST/RO building is in front of MAPO, as seen from the main part of the station. It was emptied in the middle of the 2005/2006 summer and will be demolished soon.


Crary Science and Engineering Center (alias CSEC or Crary Lab), the centerpoint of science activity on the station. Crary is essentially three buildings (called "phases") built in descending order down a hillside, linked via a central corridor (the "spine"). Room 171 was my home for the 1995/1996 and 1996/1997 summer seasons.
One of the 8 parts of the Elevated Station at South Pole, located along the back side of the structure, behind B2 (the science lab), and between A3 (the computer lab and medical), and B4 (the gymnasium). B1 is the so-called "lifepod", with the emergency power plant on the front of the lower floor, and the emergency galley at the front of the upper floor, and berthing spaces at the backs of both floors. Since the station is not normally in a state of emergency, the backup galley is also used as the game room (pool, ping-pong, and foosball), and the room next to it is the primary TV/movie lounge, the current home to the hundreds of VHS and Betamax tapes from the old Dome Library.
One of the 8 parts of the Elevated Station at South Pole, located along the windward side of the structure, between A3 (the computer lab and medical), and B3 (administration and Comms). B2 contains the workspaces for IceCube, the Meteorology Department, and the Science Techs that used to work out of Skylab and Science upstairs, and the Arts & Crafts room and food storage downstairs.
One of the 8 parts of the Elevated Station at South Pole, located along the windward side of the structure, at the skiway-end of the building, next to B2 and in front of B4. B3 contains adminstration offices and Comms upstairs, and the IT department and a TV lounge downstairs.
One of the 8 parts of the Elevated Station at South Pole, located on one of the back corners of the structure, at the skiway-end of the building, behind B3. B4 contains the Activity Room (Band Room), the workout room, and the Gym. It was made available for use at the start of the 2006 winter season and was mostly completed by the end of the winter.
B-9 - Hut 9 [JPG]
The old Navy Photo Lab, the last of the buildings from Deep Freeze I, 1956-1957, demolished during the 1995-1996 Summer season. I walked by it for 10 months and had no idea it was the oldest building on Station.
The McMurdo Playhouse, named for the Summer productions that were held here. Because this was a large quonset hut with no interior walls, it was used for a variety of purposes, including storage, dance parties, and mid-winter airdrop mail distribution. It was demolished during the 2000-2001 season.
The Gym, home to summer-season parties, all-hands meetings, WinFly aerobics and the occasional volleyball game.
B-76 [JPG]
Once the Officers' Club, now the coffee house for officers, enlisted and civilian alike. This collection of Jamesway tubes is only open from September to February because of the problems associated with trying to heat a wood and canvas structure in the Winter. People come here to write, to talk, and to play games in a quiet, smoke-free place full of atmosphere.
B-78, The Acey-Deucy
Formerly the club for First Class and Second Class Petty Officers, now an aerobics gym.
B-84, Cosray
COSmic RAY observatory, located halfway down the road to Scott Base, it houses several experiments, including the cosmic ray detector array which gives the building its name. There is a conjugate station at Thule, Greenland for comparison monitoring.
B-107, The Southern Exposure
Along with The Erebus, a drinking establishment. In the Summer, it serves liquor and beer, hosts weekly dance nights, karaoke nights, and the occasional bingo game. In the Winter, only coffee drinks are sold. It is at all times, a non-smoking establishment, and, thus, is always popular (2003 update: sometime between 1997 and the present, The Southern Exposure became the smoking bar. I think it happened about the time that The Erebus became Gallagher's).
B-108, The Erebus Club / Gallagher's
One of the local watering holes, the site of many parties in the Winter. It was renamed to "Gallagher's" in memorial to Chuck Gallagher who died on the Ice in 1997 before he could be medevac'ed. As The Erebus, it was the smoking bar. As Gallagher's, it's the non-smoking bar (it swapped with The Southern Exposure).
Originally just a food warehouse, B-120 also housed the spare parts I needed for my job as Computer Technician during my winter-over in 1995. After B-133 was demolished, some of the telco storage was moved out of the second deck and the Computer Techs moved in.
B-133 [JPG]
The former home of InfoSys, made up of recycled modules from Willy Field, glued together with enough regular contruction materials to make it look like a real building. It was located on the road to Scott Base, overlooking most of McMurdo, the ice shelf, and the Transantarctic Mountains beyond. It was demolished during the Summer 96/97 season.
The MCC, or, Movement Control Center. All passengers and non-scientific cargo pass through here on their way in or out. The first floor is offices on one side, and a cargo bay on the other. The U.S. Post Office and ASA Mail Room can also be found here.
The Dispensary (alias "Medical"), across the way from the Galley, is the place people go with problems ranging from frostbite to broken limbs. Fortunately, it is not a very busy place in the Winter.
The Vehicle Maintenance Facility (VMF), most commonly called the "Heavy Shop" because it is where the loaders, Deltas and other heavy equipment are repaired. The 4th of July party is traditionally held here. The Heavy Shop is also noted for making the best popcorn on Station.
The Galley, the largest building at McMurdo, home to the galley, the library, the Ship's Store, the Winter photo lab, the Winter video library, the TV station, the radio station and more. It is the center of lots of activities in the Winter, less so in the Summer.
Originally just the VXE-6 Supply warehouse, this building now houses T-315 (the SeaStar project) and serves as a launching area for S-131 (Terry Deshler's group studying ozone hole formation).
The NSFA Admin building, also home to the Weather office, the N.O.C. (Network Operations Center), the F.O.C.C. (Field Operations Communications Center), and MacElex (McMurdo Electronics, the Navy repair shop). A lot of activities revolve around this building, summer and winter.
The Chalet, home to NSF and ASA management in the Summer, closed in the Winter. It derives its name from it's appearance, a ski lodge chalet. Built in 1970, it is reputed to be the first attempt at a building where form, rather than function, was given any consideration.
The building at T-Site.
B-195, Little House
Located next to Cosray along the road to Scott Base, Little House is used by atmospheric beakers as a remote site to monitor telemetry from balloon launches. Its location affords a better line-of-site view of the Ross Ice Shelf than CSEC and, thus, occasionally better VHF radio reception from the sonde.
bag drag
The act of showing up at the MCC to weigh in for for a flight. All checked luggage is taken, and all PAX are weighed with carry-on and ECW gear. The times change with little notice, but are rarely convenient.
The open area behind B-133, mostly used as the Retro Yard.
A scientist.
The informal name given to the "Vertical Tower" that connects one end of the new South Pole Elevated Station and the pre-existing network of buried arches that connect to the Dome. Inside, there are 92 steps from the bottom to the top, with an exit at snow level, one at the first floor of the new Station and the last at the second floor of the new station. It's clad in unpainted corrugated aluminum, and from the outside, has the same proportions as a three-story-tall can of beer, thus the name.
Black Island
25 miles to the South (as the skua flies), it is the location of the Unmanned Satellite Earth Ground Station (USES), which is how McMurdo gets telephone and Internet services. In the Summer, they usually get there and back via helo; in Winter, the traverse is around the back side (due to large crevasse fields) and takes 6 hours in a Delta. Parties usually day trip in the Summer and spend one to two weeks in the Winter. There is no running water, one habitable building and not many places to go if you don't like it out there.
To turn back in mid-flight, usually due to bad weather at the landing site, or mechanical problems, especially ski issues with LC-130s.
bunny boots
ECW boots resembling those worn by Mickey Mouse, large, white and featureless, named for the layer of rabbit fur that's reputed to be part of the insulation (it's really only wool felt). They are heavy, but very warm.


C-5 "Galaxy"
The largest American cargo plane ever built. It can carry 4 helos, 8 Greyhound buses or a lot of anything else. I flew North on a C-5 in October, 1995.
C-130 "Hercules"  [JPG]
The only ski-equipped cargo plane still flown by the U.S. Military. It is a small, noisy, four-engine propeller-driven plane from the '60's, but the only cargo plane that can go to Pole or land at Willy. I flew South on a C-130 in January 1995, and flew North on a C-130 a year later. The Navy VXE-6 squadron flew C-130s and LC-130s from the 1960s through the late 1990s. After they were decommissioned, the New York Air National Guard took over their role in flight ops.
C-141 "Starlifter"
A medium sized cargo plane used all over the world. It is about as luxurious as a C-130, but holds more cargo and gets to Antarctica in half the time on its four jet engines. C-141's don't have skiis; they fly down to the Ice Runway between October and December, or to Pegasus when need be. I flew South on a C-141, October, 1995, and again in August, 1996.
The Clothing Distribution Center in Christchurch. It's where we pick up all of our issue ECW gear and where we report to when it's time to leave.
Castle Rock
The large rock outcropping halfway up Hut Point Peninsula, between McMurdo and Mt. Erebus that defines one endpoint of the Castle Rock Loop. towers over the trail, large enough to be seen for miles away.
Castle Rock Loop
The trail that starts near Arrival Heights, goes along the spine of Hut Point Peninsula, past Castle Rock, down around, and past the Ice Falls, then back up the road to Scott Base.
(pronounced Cheech), slang for Christchurch.
Clean Air Sector
The area upwind from the South Pole station that is as far, atmospherically speaking, as possible from biological and industrial processes as is possible on the Earth. I'm told the instruments out at ARO, can detect a single person breathing if they are upwind. The certainly can detect an airplane passing nearby, which is why the planes need to bank left when departing Pole. A right bank puts them right over the area.
Military abbrevation for "canceled".
One of the three major buildings under the Dome at Pole (the others are Science and the Old Galley. The first floor of Comms houses Communication equipment. The second floor is the library and movie room.
Crater Hill
The land above and behind T-Site, characterized by an extinct volcano caldera which gives the area the appearance of a meteorite impact crater. Several repeaters are located there because it is visible from McMurdo, Scott Base and much of the traversed area of the Ross ice shelf.
Cracks and fissures in the ice, frequently snow-covered and not readily visible. They are one of the most hazardous and everpresent dangers down here. Because they are typically deep and much wider at the top than at the bottom, falling unarrested into one is especially unpleasant because you fall far enough to pick up some speed before your body gets wedged into the narrow space at the bottom (a process referred to as "corking in"). Usually, you stop falling when your pelvis gets stuck, or (if that's already broken) your ribcage. Depending on how far you get, it's death by hypothermia or asphyxiation. On the other hand, intentionally entering crevasses while properly roped up is a very popular excursion.
Crud, The
The common name for the ubiquitous cold/flu that strikes new arrivals to McMurdo. It is most common when a large influx of people brings with them a large influx of fresh germs. It is rare in the depths of Winter.


Dark Sector
The area near the South Pole that houses a variety of light and radio-wave-sensitive experiements, thus is kept in the "dark" electromagnetically as much as possible. Only emergency radio transmissions are allowed, and in the dark of winter, only red flashlights are permitted. Some of the dark sector experiments include SPASE, AST/RO, VIPER, and the project I work on, IceCube. The SPASE Shack and MAPO are in the dark sector.
Dark Sector Laboratory
One of the science buildings in the Dark Sector, it was built several years ago and has finally found a use as the home for Bicep, one of the Cosmic Microwave Background experiments at Pole.
A large vehicle with either a flatbed or a passenger compartment. Both types can hit a whopping 25 m.p.h. on packed snow, but owing to large balloon tires, are much more comfortable and much faster than tracked vehicles.
Do Not Freeze, a label applied to cargo that must not be allowed to sit outside
Distinguished Visitor, a person of some prominence down for a visit. DV is used in favor of the more common VIP.
Double shuttle
The practice of flying two LC-130's about an hour apart to Pole at the beginning of the season. It's too cold to let the planes sit on the ground any useful amount of time, but by flying people in on the first plane and out on the second, it's possible to spend a few hours on the ground, rather than a few minutes. Better hope that second plane doesn't boomerang.


Extreme Cold Weather, the label given to our protective clothing, from parkas and bunny boots, to bear claws, balaclavas, yazoo caps, et cetera.
Erebus, Mt.
The tallest point of Ross Island, it is also the only active volcano in Antarctica.


The pronunciation of F.N.G.. A derogatory term (that I'm told came to us from the British schooling system) for the New Guy (or Gal).
Common term for fresh fruits and vegetables. They come in at Airdrop, WinFly and periodically throughout MainBody. Their absence is quickly noticed in the variety of the food.


General Assistant, formerly GFA, General Field Assistant. GAs shovel snow, haul construction materials, and generally do general labor sorts of tasks. The real reward is that they get go lots of interesting places while they do these less than interesting things.


helo [JPG]
Helicopter, typically a Navy UH-1H twin engine "Huey".
The most powerful and dangerous storms on this part of Ross Island. They come out of the South, through Herbie Alley, bringing winds that can be in excess of 100 knots.
Herbie Alley
The space between Black Island and White Island through which Minna Saddle is normally visible. It is a pretty sure sign that a Herbie is on the way when Minna Saddle is obscured.
Hut 10
Formerly the home of the NSFA commander, it is now used to house DV's when on station, and as the location for dinner parties because of its dining room and full kitchen. Civilian and Military residents of McMurdo, both, can put down a deposit and book parties (subject to management approval, a process which can take days due to the number of signatures required).
Hut Point [JPG]
The Northernmost point of McMurdo, located on the far side of Winter Quarters Bay, named for Scott's Discovery Hut and topped by Vince's Cross.


Ice, The
The most common nickname for Antarctica, as in, "How long you been on The Ice?"
Ice Runway
The airstrip built annually on sea ice, frozen sea water. The Ice Runway is about a five minute drive from McMurdo, just a few miles off of Cape Armitage. It is the closest runway to town, but it only in operation from October through December. It is where wheeled aircraft like C-5's and C-141's land. The reason it is set up and torn down every year is that it is on ice that may or may not last the summer. In contrast, Pegasus, is also called the "blue ice" runway, because it is constructed on the Ross ice shelf itself, made, not of frozen sea water, but of compacted snow (fresh water). Pegasus, however, is an hour's drive out of town.


Canvas and wood "tents", Korean War surplus, that are used as semi-permanent shelter at field camps and the like. The most famous at McMurdo was the the IX, or 9, Pack, a series of nine jamesways connected to a common central hallway. It was used for many years as WinFly and summer housing for first-year men, but was emptied at the end of the 1994/1995 season and dismantled and stored at the end of the 1995/1996 season. Even into the 2003/2004 season at Pole, there are a lot of them out at Summer Camp at full occupancy.



LC-130  [JPG]
A ski-equipped version of the C-130 that can land on snow, ice or pavement.
LIght Distance and Ranging. There are LIDAR units, large and small at both McMurdo and at Pole. They are used to detect cloud particle sizes in stratospheric clouds (18 miles/30 Km up).


Mactown [link]
One of the many nicknames for McMurdo. Others include McMudhole and Dirt Town, both used by residents of South Pole and Willy Field because of the difference between gritty volcanic soil here, and the clean, white snow elsewhere.
One of the three seasons of the Antarctic year. At McMurdo, it starts around 1-October and goes until the last flight at Station Close, typically late February or early March. At Pole, it's from about 1-November to mid-February.
The Martin A Pomerantz Observatory; before the construction of the 10-meter, or South Pole Telescope, it was the largest building in the Dark Sector at Pole. Built in 1993, it's been home to various projects over the year, including VIPER, DASI, QUaD, and AMANDA. VIPER's last year was 2005, and its part of the building is now walled off and cold, awaiting demolition. DASI gave up its mount to QUaD a few years back; but as of late 2007, QUaD is on its last run and will shut down before Thanksgiving, leaving the old AMANDA strings the only active science project in the building.
McMurdo [link]
McMurdo Station, located at the tip of Hut Point Peninsula off of McMurdo Sound. One of three U.S. stations open year-round.
A special flight for medical evacuation - extracting someone before their tour is up due to illness or injury. There have been several medevac flights in recent years to both Pole and McMurdo.
Short for "midnight rations", the meal served between 00:00 and 01:00 during WinFly and mainbody.
Mt. Aurora
The highest point on Black Island.
Morale Welfare and Recreation, a service of the Navy that endeavours to find things for us to do that liberate us from our money. MWR puts on parties, rents musical instruments, holds bingo night and karaoke night, sells T-shirts, runs the Ship Store and operates The Erebus, The Southern Exposure, and The Coffee House.


a large tracked vehicle, larger than a spryte and smaller than a Delta. One of the Nodwells at McMurdo is outfitted with fire gear as a crash cart for the fire department.
National Science Foundation - they fund the Office of Polar Programs which operates USAP
nacreous clouds
Also called "Mother of Pearl" clouds for their milky opalescent glow. When the right kind of PSC's are properly backlit, the display is impressive. These are rare, even in the Antarctic.
NSFA - Naval Support Force, Antarctica
One of two groups of Navy personnel who once worked down here (VXE-6 being the other), they were the only military who Winter here prior to their disestablishment in 1998.. Once numbering over 100, by 1996, their ranks had thinned to a wintertime complement of a couple dozen. The last areas directly under their control before disestablishment were the MET (weather) Office, the TV and radio stations, and T-Site. Rumor has it that the acronym actually stood for, "No Sex For Awhile".


Old Antarctic Explorer, someone who's been around for a while, several summers, or at least a Winter. Wintering at Pole definitely confers OAE status. The other way to tell if someone is an OAE is if they started coming to the Ice before you did.
Ob Hill
Short for "Observation Hill", the 800' cone of volcanic rock and gravel located between Scott Base and McMurdo. It is one of the few destinations to which solitary travel is permissible. At the summit, clearly visible from town, is a large cross, commemorating the death of Sir Robert Falcon Scott and his party.
Optical Module, a sensor for AMANDA, the neutrino detector buried under the Ice at Pole. There are more than 600 OMs in 19 strings in AMANDA. It successor, Ice Cube, will have 5000 OMs in 99 strings (including AMANDA's original 19).


The "blue ice" runway (so-called to distinguish it from the sea ice Ice Runway). Of the three airstrips serving McMurdo and Scott Base, it is by far the furthest away and least used. Pegasus is used in January and February to accomodate wheeled aircraft (C-141's and C-130's with their skis up), after the summer heat has made the airstrip at the Ice Runway unsafe to use. Pegasus was also used for WinFly '96 for three C-141 flights.
Principal Investigator, the head of a science project.
Photo Multiplier Tube, the active part of an OM. It resembles a large light bulb or small picture tube, and works like a light bulb in reverse - light entering its face produces an electrical impulse that can be detected and recorded. PMTs are used by several experiments at the pole, AMANDA, SPASE, Ice Cube and Ice Top. They are how the detectors "see" the faint light produced when a neutrino interacts with a water molecule.
Point Of Origin, the official designation for the place you come from (and where they've got to fly you back to). Now called your AOD.
Pole [link]
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, the U.S. base at the geographic South Pole. One of three U.S. stations open year-round.
Polar Stratospheric Clouds, high altitude (30km) clouds which only form in extremely cold air, such as that found over Antarctica at the end of the Winter. They are being studied as the most likely site for ozone destruction processes.
Point of Safe Return, the furthest a plane can go and still return to its origin. The PSR for an LC-130 is about halfway between McMurdo and Christchurch. The PSR for both C-141's and C-5's is overhead. Thus, it is possible to get all the way here and still have to fly the entire way back, as happened to me at WinFly '96.



The old name for the "McMurdo Ground Station", a large dome just downhill from Arrival Heights, built in the 1994-1995 season to collect data from a satellite that has not been launched as of the end of the 1995-1996 season.
Short for "retrograde", to return waste or no longer needed materials to the States from The Ice. By extension, retro can also refer to the waste itself.
The Info Sys pickup truck, so named because it rolls over (a previous owner failed to chock the wheels and it took off down a hill, not entirely on its wheels).


SAR Team - The Search and Rescue Team
The group of qualified and trained volunteers who come and find your ass when you turn up missing. The SAR Team gets to go interesting places (usually in the worst weather) and work their buns off.
One of the three major buildings under the Dome at Pole (the others are Comms and the Old Galley. The first floor of Science once housed the Meteorology Office (Met), Science Support, the Aurora Tech, the public computer lab, and part of the AMANDA project. The second floor was Upper Berthing. Met relocated to B2 during the 2005 winter season, AMANDA (now part of IceCube), the Aurora Tech, and Science Support moved up to B2 during the 2005/2006 summer season, and I was the last Upper Berthing resident at the start of the 2006 winter season.
Scott Base [JPG]
The home of our neighbors from New Zealand, 10 this Winter and a lot more than that in the Summer. It is noted for the spacious and friendly bar, as well as the site of some of the best parties anywhere around. Unlike McMurdo, Scott Base is nearly all interconnected; which is a good thing, considering how harsh their weather gets. It's about a mile away, but on the other side of Hut Point Peninsula right up against the Ross Ice Shelf, facing Black Island (and Herbie Alley).
Scott's Hut [JPG]
Started in 1901 and completed in 1904, Scott's Discovery Hut is named for his ship, "the Discovery". It was his base of operations until his death in 1913. Since the 1950's, however, it has been designated an historical landmark and is no longer used as a base camp for Antarctic expeditions. It still contains many of the items and food containers used by Scott and his men. There are frequent tours of it in the Summer season.
Silver City [JPG]
The charming name given to the heated shed that was once one of the most accessible out-of-town jaunts before it blew down in a winter storm in 2004 (it was "Silver" because of its Airstream-trailer-like aluminum sheathing). It sat on the road between the ice falls and Willy Field, far from the lights of town and a prime place for star gazing and aurora hunting. It was close enough to ski to, but most people took vehicles out and back.
A variety of Antarctic gull that is noted for its rapaciousness and its wide variety of acceptible foodstuffs. They are noisy, dirty and just plain nasty birds. They are to standard seagulls what a New York pigeon is to a dove. More disgusting than the swallows of Capistrano (and less disgusting than the Buzzards of Hinckley, Ohio) they are our first heralds of Austral Spring, but as the saying goes, "One skua does not a summer make."
The four-story-tall orange tower that sits next to the dome and once housed a variety of aeronomy experiments. The very top housed the Aurora Lab; below that, the Skylab Lounge, which doubled as a practice room for any on-station musicians; below that, COSRAY, a cosmic ray observatory; and on the bottom floor, CUSP. Skylab was vacated at the start of the 2005/2006 summer season. The science equipment was relocated to B2 in the Elevated Station; the band equipment was relocated to the "Activity Room" in B4.
snow school
Also called "Happy Camper School", it is wilderness survival training where students learn how to set up camp out on the open expanse of the Ross Ice Shelf, including making a snow wall to block wind, and erecting igloos and snow mounds for shelter. It is required for all winter-over personnel and, depending on the weather, lots of fun, or one of Dante's nine Hells.
A small, two to four person tracked vehicle, used extensively in getting around off the beaten track. Much smaller than a nodwell.
The name for the two rainbows that appear on either side of the sun, approximately 23° away, caused by the refraction of light through suspended ice crystals. Frequently seen with displays of halos and other perihelical effects. They are occasionally visible in temperate latitudes, but more common in polar regions.


Temporary Ice Cube Laboratory, where the Ice Cube computers live until the ICL (Ice Cube Laboratory, formerly the El Dorm) is completed. The TICL, once known as the TCH (Temporary Counting House), was intended to house the equipment for 4 strings for one year, but now will have to service up to 13 strings, and stay operational for an additional year. Once the ICL is up, the TICL will be emptied and closed down.
Short for "Transmitter Site". Once staffed year-round by members of NSFA who operated and repaired the transmitters that once were the primary method of communcation with the outside world. After the new USES station went completely operational, Black Island, T-Site was demoted to an antenna farm and backup communications in times of outages at B.I.
Common description for the condition that happens to most winter-overs to one degree or another. Toastiness includes short attention span, poor memory, irritability, even the classic "thousand-yard-stare in a ten yard room". These symptoms normally pass quickly once the winter-over starts thawing out in Christchurch.
the name for any journey on the ice to any place more distant than Willy Field. Notable traverses include the frequent trips to Black Island and the Springtime trips to the ice caves of the Erebus Ice Tongue.
The mountain range that cuts across the middle of the continent, from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea. The portion visible from McMurdo is also called the Royal Society Range, named for the Royal Society which put up substantial sums of money for exploration early in the century.
Any change from one surface to another, such as from permanent to annual ice or from dirt to any kind of ice. The two most traversed transitions are on the road to Willy Field and onto the sea ice below Crary Lab on way to the Ice Runway.
A large box made of triple-thickness corrugated cardboard. A typical tri-wall is four feet on a side (1.3m). They are used for both cargo and retro.


U.S. Antarctic Program (formerly USARP, the U.S. Antarctic Research Program).
A 55 gal. drum used for the collection of urine in places that lack real plumbing. U-Barrels are painted canary yellow, lest someone mistake the contents for something useful, like fuel or drinking water. The actual accomodations for filling one range from a bathroom with a tin-lined wooden box complete with standard toilet seat (B-133) to a pile of rocks to stand on and a funnel weighted down with a rock so it doesn't blow away ( Lake Hoare).


VXE-6 - Antarctic Development Squadron Six
All the Navy pilots are assigned to this squadron. Through the 1995-1996 season, they flew and maintained UH-1H "Hueys" and LC-130 "Hercs". They flew their last helo in February, 1996, and their last LC-130 a couple of seasons later. Petroleum Helicopters, Inc (PHI) took over the helo flying; the New York Air National Guard (NYANG) now flies the LC-130s.
Vince's Cross [JPG]
The large, wooden cross at Hut Point that reads
    Sacred to the memory of
            of  the
 who was drowned near this spot
        March 11th 1902


Willy Field
Short for Williams Field, the airstrip and building complex located on the permanent ice, about 10 miles from Mactown. It is the first sight that many see of this place. Given the bleak nature of the ice shelf, some do not find it to be a comforting sight. It is named for SeeBee Richard T. Williams who drowned when his tractor fell through the sea ice, in 1953.
Either the week in August when Willy opens up to admit the first planes after Winter, or the period of time between those flights and MainBody, in October. The station grows about 75% in one week, leading to some additional stress as winter-overs and WinFly folks try to work together at different paces with somewhat different world-views. Winter-overs tend to think that WinFly people are loud, pushy and belittling, while folks that arrive at WinFly tend to see the winter-overs as tired, irrascible and even slightly paranoid. Winter-overs don't always get the slack they deserve.
Someone who has or is spending the winter on The Ice.




A military synonym for UTC or GMT. Most scientific data is logged on computers set to Zulu time. For regular "wall time" McMurdo follows Chch, which is GMT+12 hours in the winter, GMT+13 in the summer (even though the sun never sets in the summer and there is no night to save the daylight from). Pole follows McMurdo, to eliminate issues with jet lag or calculating arrival times of flights.

To Ethan's Home Page

Valid HTML 2.0! Last modified: 8 October 2007
© Copyright 1995-2007, Ethan Dicks Last<erd@iname.com>. All Rights Reserved.