National Geographic : 1963 Feb
ventilating system keeps the air fresh and cold by filtering it through the snow. Inside the prefabs, accordion walls sep arated offices, but living quarters were in dividual rooms, painted in warm, cheerful colors to offset the coldness of the ice. Having had more than a casual acquaint ance with the sketchy plumbing of the Ant arctic, I looked with appreciation at the gleaming washrooms and sanitary facilities. I thought of the hardships suffered by the men who came with Scott and Shackleton, and with Byrd in the early days. Indeed we have come a long way in Antarctica. Walls Reveal Ice Sheet's Age In the science tunnel Dave turned off the lights, and as our eyes adjusted to the dark ness, an eerie blue glow enveloped us. It was sunlight filtered through several feet of ice, coming from an adjacent tunnel as yet un covered. In the blue translucent wall we saw etched lines of the many-layered snow accumula tions, like tree rings, that tell the age and structure of the polar ice sheet (page 271). Dr. Carl Benson, a glaciologist from the Univer- C-130 pilot plots his course on a naviga tion chart held beneath a black radar scope. The United States is the only nation that maintains year-round stations in the interior, supplying them by air. Roaring Engines and JATO Rockets Lift a C-130 Skyward From McMurdo First used in Antarctica in 1960, the ski equipped Lockheed Hercules now is the main supply vehicle for stations inland. Even when loaded with ten tons of cargo, the C-130 can leap into the air in 20 sec onds, and it cruises at 25,000 feet. Jet tur bines, driving four propellers, thrive on thin air that makes piston engines pant. C-130's have greatly decreased the costlier air-dropping of supplies. Arms looped through the cargo net of a C-130, a serviceman takes a nap. A trip to the Pole from McMurdo now means less than three hours in the air, drowsing above fearsome terrain where brave ex plorers once struggled and died.