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An Expedition Wa-a-ay Down Under

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    A research team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution moves out along a lava ridge on the lower slopes of Mount Morning, Antarctica, to investigate how the volcanic landscape formed and changed over time. Behind and below them, the massive Koettlitz Glacier empties into frozen McMurdo Sound. From left: Mark Kurz, Andrea Burke, Hugh Powell, Adam Soule.
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    As the smallest member of the expedition, Andrea Burke had the most trouble with the wind. Her enormous, standard-issue "Big Red" parka didn't make things any easier. Though it kept her warm, it caught the wind like an autumn leaf, and Burke had to rely on her pack to weigh her down.
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    The 24-hour Antarctic sun is fierce. Although the ozone hole is beginning to mend, the sun's ultraviolet rays are still far stronger here than back home in the United States. Here, Andrea Burke and Mark Kurz slather on the sunscreen—a ritual performed several times per day.
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    Andrea Burke readies a mighty backswing as she works on sampling a solid mass of gray basalt. At left, Soule clambers over boulders to reach his camera gear, while Kurz writes notes on the pillared lava formation. The streaming sunlight had warmed the dark rocks, making an almost pleasant temperature and partially melting the icy floor of this depression—one reason why Soule is stepping so carefully.
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    Andrea Burke samples rock on a fairly calm day on the lava plain. She's wearing her characteristic field equipment: warm hat, windproof clothes, GPS unit (on belt), giant sunglasses, and enormous smile.
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    Andrea Burke tends one of the tent's two cook stoves. The large aluminum pot was continually filled with snow, which the team melted to meet its water needs. Burke holds the infamous bag of scallops that the team tried so hard to finish (see Polar Discovery, Day 21). The yellow light seeping into  the tent gives an idea of what the team had to put up with when they tried to sleep each "night."

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