Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ice Runway!

They fly in big boy planes down here. Big big planes. But it's pretty rocky and volcanic and cliffy and icy and all that good stuff, and so what's a government outpost in Antarctica to do? Land the planes on the ice! For now...

Right now, Mac Town's ice runway is right in front of the town. You can watch planes coming in from just about any point in town, and it's about a five minute drive out on the ice to a little collection of shacks that supports the runway. This is NOT actually where the plane I flew on landed. That site is called Pegasus, and it's 30-40 minutes out of town. The runway currently in use was built over several weeks by people who came here when I did. Eventually, the ice here will melt enough that planes can't safely land anymore (it needs to be 80 inches thick) and people will have to fly in much further away from town.

I get out here from time to time, as there are a few bathrooms out here (think of the kind of bathroom you would use at the county fair) and we, as janos, get to clean them! The good deal -- we get to get out of town, and even see Mt. Erebus, the active volcano not so far from us. Here are some pretty pictures of our lava-filled friend...

Uh-oh! What if she explodes! Sometimes Erebus does, although from the pictures I've seen, the lava generally cools so quickly that it falls as solids, not a lava flow. Of course, I do hear that there is an emergency action plan in case of a really big explosion. My plan -- get in the nearest vehicle headed for the nearest plane, and get on that plane ASAP.

Here are a few more pictures of the cool buildings at the runway, and some of the awesome equipment one can find there!

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