National Geographic : 1956 Aug
158 Andrew H. Brown, National Geographic Staff Adelie Penguins Leap from Beneath the Ice Like Porpoises in Boiled Shirts Clown princes of their frozen kingdom, Adelies rollick at ice edge like boisterous children. Inordinately curious, they scolded Deepfreeze ships, craned necks at man's odd labors, and waddled into sailors' softball games. A skua gull perches on the ice; his kind regularly steal penguin eggs and newly hatched young. Vogt's dozen cosmic ray counters, embedded in paraffin and separated by massive lead blocks, received the cosmic radiation produced by high-energy particles. Arneb's route in antarctic waters, and bound to and from them, allowed Vogt to make tangent readings that accurately located the geomagnetic equator. Knowledge of the geomagnetic field in outer space, among other values, is useful for pre cise aiming of ballistic missiles. Other scientists pursued their researches in many fields. Ornithologist Austin banded thousands of penguins, and one of the hydrog raphers dredged up a sea worm 30 feet long. "Heat Wave" Brings Crisis After Glacier left to return to McMurdo Sound early in January, there arose at Little America V a major emergency. Later I heard the story from Comdr. V. L. Pendergraft, Task Force Air Operations Officer. "To speed off-loading, we took a chance on setting up that big supply dump you saw growing on the Kainan Bay ice close to the Barrier," he said. "As fast as equipment came out of Arneb and Greenville Victory, tractor trains hauled it to the halfway dump. Seabees piled up the stuff by the hundreds and hundreds of tons, despite the calculated risk involved in trusting it to the bay ice. "Then an antarctic 'heat wave' moved in. Temperatures rose to the freezing point. "On January 7 surveyor Frank Biba, sighting through his theodolite, saw the ice edge heaving up and down. What if every thing we'd off-loaded-supplies, tractors, Sno Cats, aircraft-were lost to Davy Jones? "Admiral Dufek, against the advice of some. at once ordered every box, crate, drum, and bundle in the supply dump moved to the base site on the Barrier within 48 hours. By now the ice the surveyor had seen quaking was nothing but a jumble of tossing ice cakes." All hands turned to, many spurred by the danger of losing the means of their survival over the long antarctic winter to come. A day and a half of fierce exertion-and every stick of equipment was safely relocated on the Shelf ice. In a howling storm of blowing snow, ve hicles and loose equipment near the ice edge were hauled back aboard ship (page 164). Within hours after the move, wind and seas licked Kainan Bay clean of the last bay ice. The natural float that had supported the sup ply dump was entirely gone. McMurdo Ice Claims a Life The ships moved in and tied up to the face of the Barrier at a low point almost at deck level (page 162). Officers and men, the crisis weathered, were wiser for their experi ence. Moral: Young bay ice is fickle stuff, never to be trusted.