National Geographic : 1959 Oct
Yawning Chasm Halts Sno-Cat and Sledges To cross treacherous cre vasse belts where snow bridges often make the dan ger invisible, motorized ex plorers get out and scout afoot. Sometimes the laby rinths compel them to re treat and seek a safer route. Such a maneuver calls for turning around, frequently in restricted space, and skirt ing sheer walls of ice in the heavy tractors. This Sno-Cat leads the 1958-59 traverse from Ells worth Station. Expedition members sledged inland from the Weddell Sea atop ice filling a below-sea-level trench knifing deep into the continent. Some scientists suspect the trough cuts Ant arctica in two. Here a small crevasse, found far inland, stopped the Ellsworth party only momentarily during its 69 day, 1,250-mile trek. The chasm's width pinched down rapidly to about two feet, af fording a safe crossing. The explorers regarded its 30 to 40-foot depth as rela tively shallow. Peering into other crevasses, they failed to see bottom, lost in shadow hundreds of feet below.