It's been daytime here at Pole for the last five months, and so it seems time for night. The sun is getting lower, and we expect it to set on March 23rd - just a couple weeks from now. And there's still so much left to do before it sets. But that kind of worry is something I save for the work day, so I'm going to share a funny story instead.
The garage and logistics facilities here are housed in giant metal arches that over the years have become completely buried in snow. As the top of the arches are below ground level and therefore form a sheer cliff, drifting snow slowly layers and forms large overhanging cornices that have to be knocked down a few times a year before they fall and crush someone. In an attempt to alleviate this problem, the carpenters built large deflectors. They're large angles pieces of metal that channel air to create a region of high pressure that scrubs the snow off the arches. It should prevent cornices.
But the thing about high-pressure regions is that they're accompanied by low-pressures. The idea is that the low pressure is off the edge of the arch and doesn't matter. But somewhere in Denver, someone who's probably never been to Antarctica decided that it was too unsafe to put the deflectors close to the edge of the arches. They ended up installed quite far back from the edge. And so much to the surprise of that person, the low-pressure region that was now squarely on the edge of the arch started collecting snow. And two weeks later, a massive cornice was hanging over the door into the arch. The new cornices are larger and form faster. Oh boy.
Fortunately, Pole has something of a history of snow build-up. Many things have been buried here (including the first two stations), so we have tools to deal with snow. The carpenters took a large steel cable and used it to saw off the cornice before it fell.
It made a very palpable thump when it hit. That would be a bad day if it fell on you.