Here at McMurdo I met Dan Pekol, a guy who just got back from the South Pole Traverse. Each summer, tractors make a trip to the South Pole Station from McMurdo Station. Pulled behind them in sleds are resources (mainly fuel) to be delivered.
This is a 21,067-mile roundtrip traverse. Considering the tractors go an average of 8 miles per hour when pulling the sleds, it ended up taking 41 days to complete this year’s journey (23 days there, 18 days back).
Along the way, Dan took some absolutely stunning picture of the Antarctic landscape. Perhaps most interesting are the ”sastrugi.”
sas·tru·gi (səˈstro͞oɡē) - noun - parallel wavelike ridges caused by winds on the surface of hard snow, especially in polar regions.
The sastrugi are created when glaciers grind together, raising up blocks of ice. The wind then blows snow over the ice, sculpting and carving it overtime.
Personally, I find them beautiful and oddly therapeutic to look at – nature’s art if you will. In some pictures I swear I see familiar objects in the sastrugi – a snapping turtle, a teacup, a mountain lion – but perhaps that’s just me.
With Dan’s permission, I share his sastrugi pictures with you (unedited, might I add!). I hope you enjoy them!