University of Wisconsin-Madison

Week 52 at the Pole

Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF

Like other places around the world, the South Pole has its traditions for ringing in the new year, but some of them are unique to this locale. For example, each year they hold a ceremony at the geographic pole to set a new pole marker into place. The exact location of the geographic pole shifts somewhat each year due to ice movement. The beginning of the year is as good a time as any to reset the position—so why not take the opportunity to install a brand new marker? The image above shows the new marker for 2021, while below we see the outgoing 2020 marker (and a different view seen here). The pole markers are traditionally designed and manufactured by one of the previous year’s winterovers, who normally will have left the Pole before the new year begins. But not this year—that’s Geoffrey Chen, this year’s pole marker designer but one of last year’s winterovers who are still at the Pole, excited to do the unveiling.

Besides installing the new the pole marker, last week involved celebrating and toasting in general. All three of IceCube’s winterovers currently at the Pole toasted and smiled for the camera, followed by a celebratory group shot. There was also some detector troubleshooting, an incoming plane bearing cargo and mail packages, snow moving (which provided some fun (and safety-approved) sledding), and a trip to the “End of the World” (just a place where all the removed snow gets dumped because it’s downwind from the station).

Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
John Hardin, IceCube/NSF
John Hardin, IceCube/NSF
Andrea Dixon, ASC
Andrea Dixon, ASC
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF
Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF