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Scientist at work: Russian comforts on Antarctic ice

Published: 18 Jan 2013

(Michael Becker, a doctoral student at McGill University, was a scientific diver on an expedition to Lake Untersee, Antarctica, this is part two in a series of blog posts for the NYT): Fieldwork in the polar latitudes is often 50 percent science and 50 percent logistics. When the weather goes bad the science drops quickly to zero. That’s the position we found ourselves in as we waited to depart our transit town of Cape Town, South Africa. Gale-force winds and drifting snow at the Antarctic ice-runway turned our 3-day layover into a 9-day “vacation” as we waited for conditions to improve. Eventually the storm broke. With fuller-bellies and better tans, our hiatus ended as we boarded the once-a-week flight to our destination, the Russian base Novolazarevskaya.

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