On the Current Location of the Byrd "Snow Cruiser" and Other Artifacts from Little America I, II, III and Framheim

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Abstract:

Analysis of maps, sightings, satellite images, and aerial photos indicates that a ∼105 km2 section of the eastern side of the Bay of Whales, containing the buried remains of several bases from the "heroic era" of Antarctic exploration, calved away around late 1961. A small iceberg from this event (or closely spaced events), with the remains of Little America III exposed in the ice face, was sighted in February 1963 near the western Ross Ice Shelf front. Satellite observations of more recent calving events show that most small icebergs from the Bay of Whales area drift westward and repeatedly impact the shelf, fragmenting as they move. This implies that a number of artifacts from the bases, such as the 1939–1941 Snow Cruiser, are likely strewn along the seabed near the 1962 ice-front position. Major Ross Ice Shelf calvings of 2000 and 2002 have removed the ice cover from parts of the 1962 front area for the first time since that period. Thus a search for the artifacts is technically more feasible for the next few years until shelf ice flow re-covers the area.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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