Ice Traps Ships

Posted on January 27, 2014 by

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Two ships recently became stuck in the Antarctic ice.

A Chinese vessel named Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, was stuck in 10 to 13 feet deep of ice. The passengers were 13 miles away from ice-free water. The ship was going to do research on global warming and the shrinking of polar ice caps.   Ironic, huh?

The Chinese helicopter Snow Eagle rescued fifty-two people from the Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy, which also became trapped on 22 December. The passengers on this ship were scientists, tourists, and journalists on a research trip.

The Polar Star, a US icebreaker ship, was en route to help out these ships. This ship was the only one out of the US Coast Guard that could break through the thick ice. It is 399 feet long, 13 tons, and 75,000 horsepower.

Finally, the ships both broke free, and the US icebreaker not needed.

Antarctica was not even seen until 1820. Antarctica is 14 million square kilometers big, and all but 2.4 percent of that is ice. It is the highest, driest, windiest, emptiest, coldest place on earth. The mean temperature is negative 56 degrees. There are no land animals.

“I would probably get hypothermia and die,” Cesar Avila said.

“I’d teach the penguins to play basketball,” Brian Schumacher said.

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