November 6 - Mt. Erebus, Antarctica

At 12,500 feet, Mt. Erebus is the 2nd highest volcano in Antarctica and the most active. It is a persistent gassing volcano famous for its active lava lake. The study of these gasses and their significance in the atmosphere is much easier because of Antarctic's unpolluted air. The gasses released are CO2, CO, SO2, OCS, HCL, HF, and H2O ... HCL, HF, and SO2 are ozone depleting gasses.

Sir James Ross named the volcano after his ship the Erebus. The first person to ascend Mt. Erebus was Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1908.


When we go to locations that are somewhat dangerous, we are required to get field support. Since I planned on landing and walking around the fumaroles that are near the top of the crater, a mountaineer specialist from FSTP had to accompany us. The fumaroles are large ice towers near the crater that release some gasses. Being so high up, overlooking the Ross Sea, and looking up into the edge of the crater is quite spectacular.


The ascent from sea level to 11,500 feet only takes 15 minutes so it is very difficult to acclimate.

It took 3 1/2 hours to climb around 500 feet and back while taking photographs.