Photo: The South Pole ceremonial pole and flags are moved as part of the new station dedication ceremony. The ceremonial pole is candy-cane striped with a silver ball on top and is always surrounded by the flags of the original 12 signatory nations to the Antarctic Treaty. Photo courtesy of Glenn Grant, National Science Foundation.
Donna Patterson-Fraser handles a giant petrel chick near the Antarctic Peninsula. She and other members of Dr. Bill Fraser's field team closely monitor the huge scavenger-predators as part of a larger ecological study. Photograph by: Peter Rejcek, National Science Foundation, Date Taken: January 19, 2010
A section of ice core with a thick layer of sediment in the middle. The core was retrieved from Lake Vida in Antarctica at a depth of ~21 meters. This research was conducted as part of the 2010 Lake Vida expedition, the purpose of which was to access the isolated and ice-bound brine ecosystem and underlying sediments in this unusual, mostly frozen lake--one of the highest and coldest of the McMurdo Dry Valleys. Credit: Alison E Murray, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nev.
A distant view of Palmer Station, the smallest of the three United States research stations in Antarctica. It is located on Anvers Island, near the Antarctic Peninsula. All of the stations are operated by the National Science Foundation's U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). Further information about USAP is available Here. (Date of Image: June 2006) Credit: Glenn E. Grant, National Science Foundation
A killer whale swims toward Wayne Perryman, who is standing on a piece of ice in McMurdo Sound. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Southwest Fisheries Science Center are studying the whales to determine if there are three separate species of Antarctic killer whales. The Antarctic Conservation Act (Public Law 95-541) formalizes U.S. adherence to all Antarctic Treaty conservation rules. Participants must obtain a permit to go into specially protected areas
The Research Vessel NATHANIEL B. PALMER in Barilari Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. The NBP is on a two-month science expedition to the Larsen B Embayment once occupied by a major ice shelf. In 2002, the ice shelf collapsed in a million pieces, leaving only a shard of the Larsen B Ice Shelf and a rapidly changed ecosystem in its wake. The ice shelf had been in place for at least 10,000 years.
NASA researcher Margarita Marinova drills a core from the ice pack at the head of University Valley in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. The ice core will be analyzed for composition of the ice and the air bubbles, which may provide information on the age of the snow pack in the valley. Since snow packs don't flow like glaciers, it is possible that the snow pack is quite old. Old ice is a great window into the climatic history of the area. Marinova is a member of Jen Heldmann and Chris McKay's NASA research team.