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Isolation, Darkness and Science – First Winter at Banda Station

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Temperatures down to -57°C, 16 weeks of darkness, eight months of isolation and logistical challenges – this is what five men faced during their first wintering at New Zealand’s Banda Station in Antarctica. That’s what I did.

The account of that winter of 1969, now the subject of a new book published by Canterbury University Press and launched on 5 October as part of the Days of Ice Festival, is both historically and scientifically relevant. is also important, but it tells an adventure story that fights against the earth in the same way. Limited factors and uncertainties of electricity, fuel, heat and water.

The setting is a strange snowless land adjacent to the East Antarctic ice sheet. Even stranger, the bottom of a nearby lake has a refreshing temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, but the surface is covered with up to 4 meters of permanent ice.

Al Riordan, a US exchange scientist, and Simon Cutfield, a Master of Science graduate, describe the events of that winter. Inspired by an encounter with Sir Edmund Hillary, Cutfield was there to make measurements to understand strange lakes, record earthquakes, and study the upper atmosphere. Riordan was there to create a comprehensive weather record and find out why there was no snow in the valley. Station He completed a team of five with a leader, a meteorologist and a skilled technician, all experienced expedition members from Aotearoa, New Zealand. The experience changed everything.

“While other authors have summarized the history of Vanda Station, this is the only complete record of station life in the first years of occupation. As such, it is an important part of the history of New Zealand’s Antarctic achievements that is missing.” We provide chapters,” says Riordan. “The account also gives science a personal touch and describes scientific advances made by international efforts over the last 50 years.”

The co-authors attended the 50th reunion of personnel who spent the winter of 1969 at Banda and Scott Bases. They were already working on a book manuscript, drawing on diaries, photographs, data records, and letters to create a unique first-person account of everyday life in the most difficult of circumstances.

“It was just the right time. We still have our memories and our sense of humor, and we finally have high-speed internet,” says Cutfield.

Keep in a cool place
, refers to the instructions for storing the team’s photo chemicals. This was his one aspect of Vanda Station that didn’t pose a problem. Everything was always cold, often encased in ice.

participate Keep in a cool place The book will go on sale on October 5th from 5:30pm to 7:00pm at Ilam’s University Bookshop University Drive. please reply:

Keep it cool: first winter at Banda Station Antarctica Published by Canterbury University Press, MSRP $49.99, softback, 229 x 152mm, 272pp text, 24pp color insert. ISBN: 978-1-98-850330-1, available in bookstores and online Canterbury University Press.

About the author:

Allen Riordan He retired from his position as an associate professor at North Carolina State University, where he taught meteorology and worked with desktop computers as well as wind tunnels, winter storm seas, and National Weather Service forecasters. Al and his wife live in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Simon Cutfield During his school days in Auckland, he met Sir Edmund Hillary and was inspired for adventure. After returning from Banda, Simon traveled to Australia in the early 1970s to take advantage of the mining boom. He married there and became a metallurgist and process engineer on major mining projects throughout Australia. He currently lives in South East Queensland.

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