Graeme Hart at Halley Research Station, Antarctica
Halley, ANTARCTICA

Glossary

ACB Accommodation Building. This is the main platform at Halley. It contained the bedrooms, dining, communications, library, darkroom, food stores, kitchen, generators, travel store, compactor & electrical & mechanical workshops.  
Accumulation This is the process of snow build up. The ground rose 1m a year, so everything had to be raised each summer to keep it clear of the surface. This includes buildings, vehicles, hand lines, cateneries, depots etc  
AVTUR Aviation fuel used to power aircraft, Sno Cats, D4 Bulldozers, Nodwell mobile cranes & generators  
Blow A blow is a storm. At Halley this usually meant that you couldn't see very far as the strong winds pick up the snow and throw it about.  
Catenery (Hmm, not sure about the spelling of that one). These are lines of 4x4 poles from the top of which cables are suspended to keep them clear of the snow surface.  
Chasm There were two distinctive features in the ice at the point where the ice shelf fell off the Antarctic continent. We called these 1st & 2nd Chasm. 1st Chasm was relatively narrow, but 2nd chasm was very wide indeed. They were like big valleys in the ice and in the valley bed were huge blocks of ice shelf that had broken up & were tumbled over into interesting angle. They made great objects to climb up.  
Contrast Contrast is an effect of the light conditions. In reference to snow conditions, it is a measure of the clarity of surface features. When it is sunny, shadows are created that enable you to see lumps. bumps and holes in the surface. When it is cloudy the light from the sun gets bounced around in all directions by the droplets in the clouds. Since the light is coming from every possible angle at the same time, no shadows are produced. When this happens contrast is very poor and you tend to fall into holes and trip over bumps. Some people rode skidoos into large wind scoops when contrast was poor. They'd get thrown off the ski doo without realising they were in a hole. The ground & sky were both the same shade of white, so all they could see was their feet and the skidoo. Absolutely nothing else - quite disorienting. All you can do in this situation is get down on your hands & knees and try to find the edge of the lump/hole, then climb up the lump or out of the hole until other objects come into view & you can get your bearings.  
D4 Caterpillar D4 bulldozer. This is the biggest bulldozer than could safely be transported over sea ice and, I am reliably informed, it's actually quite a smallone. Great fun to drive though.  
Drifted In Anything left on the snow surface will cause snow to be deposited faster than normal around it when the wind blows. Such objects then become drifted in. This happens because the wind changes speed as it passes around the object. Where it slows up it drops the snow it was carrying. where it speeds up it can erode surface snow, ie pick up & carry more snow. You tend to get a small lump infornt of things and a big wind tail behind them.  
GA General Assistant - essentially, a mountaineer. His role was to teach us how to travel safely  when off base. The GA accompanied all of the field trips, so he got to go on all the holidays. He was also responsible for all of the travel kit, including tents, sledges, climbing equipment etc. The long dark winter was spent lashing sledges and checking gear.  
ICB Ice & Climate Building. This is where I worked. It housed all of the Ice & Climate instruments, including the Dobson Ozone Spectrophotometer, which we used to measure the thickness of the ozone above the station..  
Melt Tank All of our fresh water was produced by melting the snow. To do this we had an enormous heated water tank buried in the snow, called the Melt Tank. We had to fill it up every lunch time. You  might think that as a consequence of this, we drank the purest water in the world. Sadly it usually tasted of AVTUR, so was rather unpleasant.  
MetMan Meteorologist. This was my job title. There were three of us and we carried out meteorological observations every six hours and ran all of the instruments for the BAS Ice & Climate division.  
SSB Space Sciences Building. This is a place of impressive looking experiments on the upper atmosphere. It also served as our emergency accommodation should we lose the ACB during the winter. It had it's own generators and water supply to keep it independent. It also has two more legs than the ICB. (SSB:6 legs, ICB:4 legs, ACB: 20 legs)  
Tilley Lamp A parafin powered lamp that served two purposes. It lit the tent and generated quite a bit of heat. As the lamp was hung up in the ten below our socks & boot liners, it dried them out each evening, in readiness for the next day.  
Twin Otter DeHaviland Twin Otter. The workhorse of BAS deep field trips. These aircraft  carry a modest load (1.5 tons, I think, or 7 about barrels of fuel) all over the Antarctic for BAS. If you're going any real distance, you have to take one of these. The pilots are very friendly and usually let us have a go at flying. I flew hundreds of miles in Antarctica - actually flying the plane. Since the Otters don't have autopilot. I was given a heading and an altitude and just had to keep the plane in the right pace. It was great fun for me and, probably, a tedious job for the pilot so we were both happy.  
Wind Tail This is a mound of snow deposited behind objects left on the snow surface. When the wind blows it picks up snow. The amount of snow it can hold depends on various factors, mainly wind speed. When the wind encounters an object some of it speeds up (picking up more snow from the surface) and some slows down (depositing snow). This tends to lead to a wind scoop around the object and a wind tail behind them.  
Wind Scoop An apparent hole around items left on the surface during windy conditions. See Wind Tail  

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