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January 12, 2008 The Dedication of the New Elevated South Pole Station

 Dedicating the New Elevated South Pole Station to the new century.

Temperature: - 29 Celsius, -18 F

Windchill: - 43 Celsius, - 44 F

Wind: in the morning 12 knots

Weather: Sunny, with some high clouds

When we got up this morning we found out that the weather allowed for a C17 to leave Christchurch with the NSF delegation on board; they were going to switch to a LC 130 in McMurdo and arrive at the South Pole, early afternoon. The Dedication celebration could proceed as planned!

At 7: 30 am we all gathered to have our group picture taken for Congress as the last historical photo in front of the Dom before the flag was going to be removed during the morning and then hoisted above the New Station in the afternoon.

   The last group Photo in front of the Dom: 

The last group photo in front of the Dom, just before the removal of the flag. I am in the second top row, the 13th from the left. (Photo by Glenn Grant)

Workers on top of the Dom:

Workers on top of the Dom are about to remove the flag.

Removing the flag on top of the Dom:

Workers are removing the flag on top of the Dom. It was a very touching moment.

Flag transfer from the Dom to the ceremonial Pole:

Elke is receiving the flag in the "daisy line ". The end of the line was the Geographic Pole where the flag was refolded for the final dedication. (Photo by Mark Eisinger)

 Awaiting the US flag:<img class="standalone-image" src="/files/resize/members/elke-bergholz/images/5112endofdasylincerpo-400x300.jpg" width="400" height="300" />

Members of the station awaiting the US flag at the Geographic Pole to refold it.

Refolding the Flag at the Geographic Pole:

One member each of the support staff, scientific community, and the Marine’s refolded the flag. Andy is in the middle.

 Awaiting the moving of the Ceremonial Pole:

As in the past, the ceremonial pole has always been away from the Geographic Pole. BK, the station manager is holding the glass ball of the ceremonial ball to be moved to its new location. Don Potter, a carpenter and former member of the Marines is holding the folded US flag.

The Pole ceremony during the IGY :


The US flag and the crystal ball have been a long-time tradition. The first flag pole also carried the glass ball. This is at the first South Pole Station (Old Pole) in 1958 during the IGY. (Photo Jerry MArty Collection)

Moving the country flags to the new Ceremonial Pole:

The flags of the original countries who signed the Antarctic Treaty were moved. I felt honored that I was able to be part of this flag-moving ceremony. I am carrying the Belgium flag.

The US flag is hoisted over the new Station:

The US flag is hoisted over the new Station while all members of the station are attending, either on the platform or below on the ground.

Entrance of the New Elevated Station:

Entrance of the New Elevated Station with the USA flag and the flag of the NSF Antarctic Program.

Members of the delegation are listening to a scientific presentations:

Members of the delegation are listening to Andy’s summary about NOAA’s atmospheric work at the South Pole, including NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon

NOAA has honored Susan Solomon’s work on the ozone hole as one of NOAA’s "Top Tens” of scientific achievements. For more information go to:

The Making of an Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Solomon first became enamored of science while watching such shows as the "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.” But by high school she had switched her allegiance to the atmosphere when she earned third place in a national science contest by measuring the amount of oxygen in various gaseous mixtures. She studied chemistry at the Illinois Institute of Technology and then earned a doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley in 1981. She then went to work at NOAA’s Aeronomy Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where she has spent her entire professional career.

previous next Deciphering the Cause of the Antartic Ozone Hole Ozone is an uncommon but highly important form of oxygen. Most of it is concentrated in a layer of the stratosphere (the upper atmosphere) about 15 to 30 kilometers (about nine to 19 miles) above the Earth’s surface. This ozone layer filters the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Without the protection of this filter, humans can suffer over exposure to ultraviolet radiation leading to increased levels of skin cancer, cataracts, and a weakened immune system. Depleted atmospheric ozone can also lead to reduced crop yields, disruptions in the marine food chain, and other harmful effects.

Vice Admiral Lutenbacher of NOAA was also visiting and we were able to show him ARO for a short moment.

The NOAA group in front of ARO:

The NOAA group in front of ARO (fr.r.t.l.) Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, Andy, Teresa, Amy, Elke.

The NOAA group and Admiral C. Lautenbacher

The NOAA group inside at ARO: from l.: Admiral C. Lautenbach, Teresa, Amy, Andy, Elke.

After the delegation left we all had dinner and Teresa and I had a chance to go and see some of the deployment of the Digital Optical Modules at the IceCube project drilling camp ( See tomorrow‘s journal: "Life at the station”). Then all at the station celebrated with music and dance. The job was done and the New Station was officially in session.

The Old and the New:

The Dom is without the flag in its 33 year history. Many of us found the sight very strange. However, the ceremony was an honorable far well to "what was”. The new century has officially started at the pole.

Congratulations to all who have helped to build the New Elevated Station.


Elke Bergholz's picture
Author: Elke Bergholz
Expedition: South Pole Ozone Changes