AMUNDSEN-SCOTT SOUTH POLE STATION, MCMURDO AREAS, Antarctica - U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory’s (CRREL) Dr. Zoe Courville obtained Department of the Army-level approval during the recent government shutdown to travel to Antarctica for a critical mission for the safety of U.S. government personnel living and working at the Admundsen-Scott South Pole Station.
Each Austral summer, the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation plan two resupply missions via an approximately 1,700 km overland traverse from McMurdo Station to the South Pole Station. These resupply missions deliver critical fuel and cargo to the remote station.
The missions travel over very hazardous terrain due to extensive crevasse fields along the route. Two new large crevasses found on this trip required mitigation.
Courville’s expertise in crevasse detection using ground penetrating radar, methods originally developed by CRREL’s Dr. Steve Arcone, was critical to the safety of the eight-person team and government property during the traverse.
Had the fuel resupply mission not been executed, it would have created a life threatening risk for staff at the South Pole Station.