The dome is an aluminum geodesic, 15.8 meters high and 50 meters in diameter. It was built over the 1970-1975 seasons. Since then, blowing snow has slowly buried the structure, and every year the entrance has to be bulldozed free of snow.
In this view, we're approaching the dome entrance. Note that the snow had to be bulldozed away from the door. When this structure was built in the 70s, it was on top of the snow. Since this structure isn't built on stilts like the newer MAPO building or elevated dorms, the blowing snow accumulates around the structure, steadily burying it. They have to clean out the entrance every year.
This is a closer view of the entrance to the dome -- the front door! Note the arches on either side of the door - they look almost like huge drainage pipes. The sign reads "The UNITED STATES of AMERICA welcomes you to AMUNDSEN-SCOTT SOUTH POLE STATION."
This perspective really gives the sense of being partially buried under the snow! Photo: CARA/R. Landsberg
This is just inside the front door -- this is what the tunnels look like from inside. Off to the right and left you can see the hallways that are the arches. Photo: CARA/R. Landsberg
This is a little further inside the front door, with a little bit more "otherworldly" coloring. If you look carefully down the hallway, you can see a red building.. more on that below.
This is looking back towards the entrance from about the same position -- note the entryway to another place. This turns out to be the cold food storage facility. (see the Galley page.)
The walls get icy! Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.
This is all the way inside the dome, and the center building is what you can see down the hallway in the picture above. The building on the left has fire fighting equipment (the Pole is so dry that fire is always a worry!), the middle building is called "the Annex" (it has sleeping quarters in addition to those originally built), and the building on the right is the Galley.
The doors on these buildings look like freezer doors... except they keep the cold out.... Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.
This is another view of inside the dome. The long red building that continues past the staircase in the back is the Communications building. Near the front of this photo, on the left, is an emergency equipment storeroom.
Another view of inside the dome. This view is from the upper berthing, the second floor of the science building. The small shack in the middle is the greenhouse, which provides some much-needed green stuff in the winter. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.
Inside the greenhouse! The only green for thousands of miles... Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.
The dome just protects against the wind and snow, but the temperature is nearly the same as outside. So actually it's a big freezer, and things that can be frozen are kept just inside the dome walls. Photo courtesy Robert Schwarz.
Storage is at a premium here, and so every available space is used for storage, even the tops of buildings. Photos courtesy Robert Schwarz.
Go back to the map of the dome.