Virtual Tour - Dome: Arches.


Right after you enter the dome are two "arches" on either side. To the right is the power plant, and to the left is the hospital ("Biomed") and the fuel arch.

Index:
Fuel Arch and Power Plant
Biomed (Hospital)
Shop
Gym and Garage
New Arches 1998

Fuel Arch and Power Plant

This eerie-looking place is the fuel arch. You can see some of the fuel bladders stored here -- The big bags on the floor are, in fact, the bladders. All the power at the South Pole is generated by special diesel fuel that doesn't freeze. The stuff is called JP8 and was described as "a special arctic blend." A full winter's supply is 9 bladders, with 25,000 gallons of fuel per bladder. The problem with these bladders is that, if they leak, there is nothing to contain the fuel. Fortunately, that hasn't happened yet, but to prevent any of those sorts of accidents, the fuel bladders are being replaced by double walled steel tanks (they don't have to be insulated against the cold; they are doubled-walled to prevent leaks). This is an expensive operation, but the preservation of the Antarctic environment is very important to CARA and the rest of the Antarctic research and support groups.

Another view of the fuel bladders, clearly bulging with fuel for the long, cold winter. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.

The power plant is a little ways away from the fuel bladders because if anything goes wrong, you don't want to lose all your fuel. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.

This is actually one of the generators. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.

Biomed (Hospital)

If you come down here to winter over, you have to be really healthy, because if you get seriously ill, there's no way to get you out and back to a full-fledged hospital. There is a clinic ("Biomed") that can take care of the usual array of minor health problems, however. A doctor is on staff over the winter, but no dentist. You have to get a fairly rigorous physical before you are allowed to winterover -- one person described himself after the tests as "guaranteed not to break down for at least 1 year."

The Emergency Room. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.

The hospital -- two beds. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.

Minor dental work can be done in an emergency. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.

Shop

Just like people, the instruments are checked out rigorously before they come down to the Pole. But, things can and do go wrong; here is the shop, for instrument emergencies. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.

Another view of the shop. Photo: CARA/R. Landsberg

Gym and Garage

The gym is in one of the arches too. It's fairly small! Volleybag is a game they play at the South Pole because the quarters are too confined to play with a real ball. Games are usually played on Sundays. The bag is described by a visitor to the South Pole as a "really dead projectile."

The weight room. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.

The garage is in an arch too. Here, a bulldozer comes back into the garage. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.

The cargo yard. Cargo that arrives is unloaded from the plane and placed in the cargo storage area temporarily until it can be delivered to its ultimate destination. If cargo is shipped that can't be frozen, it's sent in a black box and is immediately carried from the plane to elsewhere in the facility -- where there's heat.

New Arches 1998

In 1997-1998, they are starting to build a newer, larger station, and some of the arches are the first things to be built. Here are various views from the construction.

The first photo is of the first segment, and the third is of the last segment. Photos courtesy Robert Schwarz.

The old garage arch with the new finished one behind. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.


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