Sunday, January 2, 2011

Queen Alexandra Range

View of the Queen Alexandra range.

The weather broke, of course, on Sunday. Sunday is a day off for most of the nonscience support workers and, therefore, a no-fly day in Antarctica for the United States Antarctic Program. But a beautiful day it was, with bright sunny skies and no wind.

A few of the CTAM staff organized a day trip to the mountains of the Queen Alexandra Range east of camp to look at the Glossopteris fossils preserved in the Permian sediments exposed there. This was a general outing for the hard-working staff, who get to see the nearby mountains every day, but do not routinely get a chance to experience them firsthand. The leaf fossils are from an ancient tree similar to today’s ginkgo and have been found in similar sediments in Antarctica, Australia, Africa and South America, providing a key piece of evidence demonstrating these continents were all connected in the supercontinent Gondwana some 260 million years ago.

Tanya Dryer striving for the top

Allan Ashworth and Mark Fanning ready for the CTAM excursion.

View of Queen Alexandra Range from halfway.

View of the Walcott Névé, CTAM, and the Skiway from halfway.

View of the foothills to the Queen Alexandra Range.

Jeff Vervoort at the top...or rather the end of the hike

View of the Walcott Névé from the top. Blue rolling sheet of ice in the foreground.

Dylan Taylor on the way up.

View of the Northern end of the Walcott Névé.

On the way down; CTAM in the background.

Glossopteris fossils in Beacon sediments.

The final descent to the snowmobiles.

Back to the snowmobiles and the ride back to CTAM.

Hoodoo like structures in the Ferrar dolerites.

[Thanks to Spencer Niebuhr for relaying photos from remote camp]

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