Under pressure

Today is Sunday.   We have a six day work week down here  so  Sundays are much needed breaks.   Some very kind souls volunteer to lead tours on their day off  and one of those nice folks took a group of us out to the Scott Base Pressure Ridges.  What are the Pressure Ridges you may ask… Well,  we have several different flavors of ice down here.  We have glacier ice-  which is mostly on land  but could flow into the sea.  Sea ice comes is several flavors  Annual sea ice  blows out every year at the end of summer.   Fast ice  forms from the shore and is  secured to land.   Sea ice shelf, is permanent  layer of  ice over sea water.  It is much thicker than annual (or even multi year) ice.

When two or more different types of ice meet,  there is friction and dramatic things happen.   The different types of ice move at different rates.  The crack,  bump up against each other and then buckle, hence the pressure ridges

The the area closest to shore tends to be the most dramatic.  Not only is there other ice to push up against,  but there is also the land itself.   The net result is huge cracks and towering peaks.

Yeah yeah yeah,  the ice was gorgeous  (I really need to work on white balance!)  but the absolute best part about the pressure ridges,  the reason I went for a 2 hour hike in the fog on the sea ice, were…

The photos really do not do the pressure ridges justice.  It is just amazing to be walking around on the sea ice and find  gorgeous  sleepy fat Weddell seals.  All the seals were so very very very fat  indicating that there is plenty of food around for them.    They are just the sweetest most docile lovable seals ever!

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