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The Great Ross Ice Barrier

Two ships moving through the ice flow in front of the ice self
Description: Painting, Watercolor on Paper; by Standish Backus; 1956; Framed Dimensions 20H X 57W
Accession #: 88-186-AZ
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"The U.S. Bases at Kainan Bay [Little America V] and at McMurdo Sound [Hut Point] are separated by the width of the Ross Ice Shelf, a distance of about 500 miles. In making the passage between the bases along the face of the ice barrier, a sheer jagged wall of ice usually from 50 feet to 200 feet high, ships could expect to encounter not only a vast variety of sea ice, bergs in diverse stages of decay, strange meteorological phenomena where the comparatively warm sea air temperatures rubbed against the frigidity of the air from the ice cap, but could also observe the whole menagerie of wild life; whales, such as fin back, baleens, blues, bottle noses and killers; seals, birds, especially the snow petrels, sea gulls and especially the penguins. Here are shown the snow petrels, baleen whales, icebergs, ice floes, the barrier face in the background disappearing over the horizon at each end, the light sky over the barrier called 'ice blink' and the dark water 'water sky.' Navy icebreaker Glacier leads the cargo transport Arneb safely through the ice fields." --Commander Standish Backus

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