Task 10 - Writing


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Task 10 - Writing

Postby Chantel Poole » Wed Jan 25, 2023 8:45 pm

Writing Time!

Traveling through Antarctica certainly gave Gary a lot of fishfood for thought! Being a growing penguin himself, it was thrilling to learn so much about an entirely different part of the world from where he grew up. To pass the time, he starts imagining all the new things he’ll be able to share upon returning home. Only with his most trusted and loyal friends, of course! He’s still waddling his heels together and thinking that there’s just NO place like home while keeping an eye on the Magic Meter across each new leg of the journey. Hoping beyond hope that his father won’t find out where he’s been.

In 100 words or more, share a Research piece on anything about Antarctica you find most inspiring, intriguing, or down right ICY!

Post below by January 31st at 11:59pm HOL time to earn 10 beans.
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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Prof. Will Lestrange » Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:12 am

In most of the world, "What time is it?" is a question that has a relatively straightforward answer. For example, as I type this in the US state of Virginia, it is a few minutes after 1 AM. Meanwhile, at HOL, it is therefore 6 AM HOL time. However, because Antarctica contains every latitude meridian (all of which intersect at the South Pole, which is in Antarctica), using the traditional definitions of time zones mean that in certain parts of Antarctica, you would need to change your clock every few steps you want.

So the question of keeping time in Antarctica is less straightforward than elsewhere in the world, and even may have an ambiguous answer depending on who you ask, even in the same location. There are several ways to answer the question:
-Research stations can use the time zone of their nearest supply base (for example, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is supplied by New Zealand and therefore uses New Zealand time, which is 12 or 13 hours ahead of UTC and therefore 11-13 hours ahead of HOL.)
-Time zones can be based on territorial claims (e.g. the northernmost part of Antarctica, Palmer Land, is claimed by a few countries including Argentia; its time zone is the same as Argentina's, 3 hours behind UTC so 3-4 hours behind HOL).
-You can simply default to UTC (which is either the same as, or one hour behind, HOL time depending on if the United Kingdom is on winter time or summer time), as many people do in the southern reaches of Antarctica.
-You can even just use whatever time zone was kept at the last place you were in before landing in Antarctica (e.g. if you were in New Zealand, you can keep on using New Zealand time in Antarctica)!

This shows how even a simple question can have a counterintuitively difficult answer that far south...
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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Prof. Felicia Hartwick » Fri Jan 27, 2023 3:00 am

When you mention the continent of Antarctica you immediately thing of ice, cold, and very little life there. But did you know that scientists believe at one time Antarctic was a lush and tropical place. This means that at one time Antarctica was much warmer than it is today. *gasp* I know, I was just as surprised as you are.

The British Antarctica Survey has been collecting fossils in Antarctica since the 1940's. They have uncovered fossils that they claim that 50 million years ago forests and complex ecosystems of animals and birds once covered Antarctica. Their collection of fossils contains over 40,000 specimens.

Most of the fossils are from the Mesozoic Era. That's 250 - 60 million years ago! Just to name a few of the fossils that they found are mollusks ( snails), bivalves (clam like shells), insects, crustaceans and arachnids. They also found marine animals, such as, starfish and sea urchins. They even have the first Jurassic astroid starfish! Plants were also found there. Fossilized wood, pollen, spores and even preserved leaves from ferns, mosses and ginkgoes were also found.

I was amazed when I read all this information. Who knew? Well, now we know!
Last edited by Prof. Felicia Hartwick on Fri Jan 27, 2023 10:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Maeve Madden » Fri Jan 27, 2023 4:59 pm

You haven’t heard about any wars being fought over Antarctica, have you? Is that just because the news doesn’t report them? Or is it because these wars were fought many years ago, with one victor controlling the huge land mass today?

Nope! The reason you haven’t heard about Antarctic wars is because there aren’t any. In 1961, the Antarctic Treaty was entered into force. This treaty outlined that Antarctica was to be designated as a place of peace and research. At the time, twelve countries signed the treaty, but today, there are 55 treaty parties! This allows Antarctica to remain peaceful and allow many different countries to conduct important research.
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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Harry Walles » Fri Jan 27, 2023 11:47 pm

Antarctica holds most of the world’s fresh water

An incredible 60-90% of the world’s fresh water is locked in Antarctica’s vast ice sheet. The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest on Earth, covering an incredible 14 million km² (5.4 million square miles) of Antarctic mountain ranges, valleys and plateaus. This leaves only 1% of Antarctica permanently ice-free. Some areas are ice-free in the summer, including many of the areas we visit on the Antarctic Peninsula.

At its deepest, Antarctica’s ice is 4.5km (2.7 miles) thick – that’s half the height of Mt Everest! If it all melted, global sea levels would rise about 60 m (200 ft).
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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Louis Walles » Fri Jan 27, 2023 11:48 pm

Antarctica used to be in fact as warm as Melbourne

Given that the coldest ever land temperature was recorded in Antarctica of -89.2°C (-128.6°F), it can be hard to imagine Antarctica as a warm, temperate paradise. But Antarctica hasn’t always been an icy land locked in the grip of a massive ice sheet. In fact, Antarctica was once almost as warm as Melbourne is today.

Researchers have estimated that 40-50 million years ago, temperatures across Antarctica reached up to 17°C (62.6°F). Scientists have also found fossils showing that Antarctica was once covered with verdant green forests and inhabited by dinosaurs!
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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Anne-Marie Gagne » Sat Jan 28, 2023 6:56 pm

With how cold it is in Antarctica you wouldn't expect there to be plants down there. Let alone flowering plants. But there is! There are only two flowering plants native to Antarctica: the Antarctic hair grass (Deschamsia antarctica) and the Antarctic pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis).

The Antarctic hair grass grows mostly in the Antarctic peninsula concentrated tufts in rocky areas. They are commonly seen in penguin colonies and can take a lot of disturbance without dying. They grow in the summer and grow less than a foot in diameter. The plants also have a deep and complex root system that helps them stay rooted when there are high winds and helps them absorb water and nutrients from the environment they thrive in. When winter comes along, they lose their long, slender, green leaves and can withstand the freezing temperatures without completely dying. It will also form ice-crystals to help prevent the cells dying in freezing temperatures.

The Antarctic pearlwort has a more moss-like appearance than the grass and can grow to be 5 centimeters tall. It has small, yellow flowers and is also found in rocky, coastal areas of the northern and western Antarctic where the milder climate helps them grow and they are able to get adequate precipitation.

Because there are no insects or birds to help pollinate the flowering plants, they are self-pollinators that rely on the wind to send the pollen from one part of the plant to the other. Luckily, there is a lot of wind in the summer months.

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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Emily Spencer » Sat Jan 28, 2023 7:55 pm

While Antarctica is not exactly the culinary capitol of the world, they do have some rather tasty food there. Not that I will ever go to Antarctica, but should fate decree otherwise, I wouldn’t go hungry, that’s for sure. Seafood reigns supreme there, with tuna, halibut, swordfish, flounder and sea bass among the most popular. However, the only fish native to the area is Wem, which can grow to 1.5 feet in length. An interesting fact about Wem is that it has no scales or bones.

Another popular food in Antarctica is pemmican, which is a mix of ground and dried meat featuring a whole lot of fat. It doesn’t sound the most appealing, but you’ll be glad for the fat to help insulate your body against the freezing cold temperatures. A soup known as Hoosh is a mixture of pemmican, biscuits and melted ice. I’ll pass on that one, thank you!

Antarctic regular meals tend to be as large as our Thanksgiving Day feasts, so huge portions are the norm. My husband would love it!
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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Dominick Salinas » Sat Jan 28, 2023 11:32 pm

The most interesting and terrifying thing to me about Antarctica is the Drake Passage which is the body of water situated between Antarctica and South America. When traveling by sea to Antarctica, you must cross this infamous stretch of water that is known for its violence and unforgiving swells. Most recently, someone died on a cruise ship crossing the passage to gain access to Antarctica when a rogue wave slammed against the ship and broke several windows, sending glass and water throughout the ship. In 1819, the Passage was responsible for a shipwreck in which 644 people aboard the San Telmo perished. It actually drives the circumpolar current that keeps the oceans in check and at a regulated temperature.
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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Ereshkigal Csintalan » Sun Jan 29, 2023 5:58 pm

As one would expect, not a lot of crime occurs in this part of the world. But what happens when it does? Well, that depends entirely on what country the person has come from (as declared by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty). For example, if you are a British citizen and commit a crime in Antarctica, you’ll be tried under British law. The same goes for other countries too like South Africa and the United States.

Although most of the crime is small and not newsworthy, there have actually been a number of people killed by others (or attempts to do so) in Antarctica. A lot of the time, they occur over the silliest things. For example, the earliest known account (from 1959) happened after a scientist lost a chess match. There was also a time when a man revealed spoilers to a lot of the books found in the station’s library. This enraged one of the staff and he attacked the man. On another occasion, a man was told he would be staying at his post in a station in Antarctica and his response was to try and burn the place down.

These kinds of examples can probably be attributed to a condition that has been known to occur in places such as Antarctica. It’s called Winter-Over Syndrome and is believed to be caused by isolation and psychological factors that come with working in such a place. It comes down to things such as the constant state of the environment outside (as in it never changes and is pretty much a white blanket for miles), the lack of an emotional side as this is 100% a professional space meaning there’s no real downtime to escape, relax and just be yourself and there's the boredom and sameness that comes with being confined in a space for months on end with the same people.

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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Adeline Morior » Mon Jan 30, 2023 2:03 pm

Antarctica is fascinating to most due to its weird and wonderful climate and setting. It is known as the fifth-largest continent on Earth. It is also extremely dry, cold and windy, giving it the name ‘Polar desert’. As Antarctica sits in the Southern Ocean, you would think it would consist mostly of salty ice, but this is not true. It consists of about 60% of the world's fresh water reserves. It is also a landmass that has a lot of ice. Its name means the opposite of North. Antarctica is surrounded by a lot of young volcanic Islands and has a massive lake stretching through the middle splitting it into the East and Western sides of Antarctica. Most Fascinating I think. It must be so beautiful and frightening to be there in the land of pure snowy desert.

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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Kalgri Sicaria » Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:11 pm

The first person to be born in Antarctica was Emilio Marcos Palma on January 7th 1978. His father was a Captain in charge of the Argentinian forces stationed at the Esperanza Base. He was declared an Argentinian citizen as both of his parents were Argentine and he was born in the territory that Argentina claims to be theirs (although it overlaps with both British and Chilean claims and is not internationally recognised). There have been at least ten other people born on Antarctica since, however Emilio's birth remains the southernmost. The first girl born on Antarctica was Marisa De Las Nieves Delgado, who was also born at the same Argentine military base on May 27th 1978.
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Re: Task 10 - Writing

Postby Lex Green » Tue Jan 31, 2023 7:15 pm

Lots of people dream about getting married on a remote beach in the Bahamas, but did you know that some people have also opted to get married on Antartica? In July 2017, Tom Sylvester and Julie Baum became the first couple to get married in the British Antarctic Territory, after being together for 11 years, engaged for 3 years, and working together at an Antarctic research station for the last year. Additionally, history was made again in April 2022, when Eric Bourne and Stephen Carpenter got married in the British Antarctic Territory, being the first same-gender couple to do so. They were both stewards on a new polar ship, and finally got married after twenty years together.
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