University of Wisconsin-Madison

Week 52 at the Pole

Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF
Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF

Week 52 is our last week of the year at the South Pole, but it covers the first few days of 2016 in addition to the final days of 2015. And every New Year’s Day, they have a celebration at the Pole in which they plant a newly designed marker for the location of the ever-shifting geographic pole (the spot is repositioned annually due to movement of the polar ice sheet at about 10 meters per year). In the photo above, you can see the station personnel gathered in a circle around the marker, although you can’t see much detail of the marker (hopefully we’ll get a better glimpse in future photos—in the meantime, some previous markers can be found here).

They also rang in the new year with a music festival held in the gymnasium and a marathon, choice of half or full. Either option seems a bit crazy given that it was –29° C outside, or roughly –20° F. (In those conditions, it might be easier to just race around the world.) The route for the marathon ran back and forth along the skiway—the monotonous white scenery provides little distraction, perhaps a good thing if you want to focus on breathing. But you don’t need any special focus to end up with an impressive icicle from your exercise—check out the formation on the facemask worn by IceCube winterover Christian, who completed the half marathon on skis.

Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF
Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF
Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF
Christian Krueger, IceCube/NSF
Delia Tosi, IceCube/NSF
Delia Tosi, IceCube/NSF