McMurdo Station is a U.S. Antarctic research center located on the southern tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand-claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. It is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National Science Foundation. The station is the largest community in Antarctica, capable of supporting up to 1,258 residents, and serves as the United States Antarctic science facility. All personnel and cargo going to or coming from Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station first pass through McMurdo. (Source : Wikipedia)
The movement of supplies and cargo from the United States across thousands of miles of ocean to Antarctica to support scientific research on the southernmost continent relies on a certain serendipity. When that fails, the Army is send in.
That’s what the National Science Foundation (NSF) did when the ice pier at McMurdo Station, constructed during the 2011 winter, failed to thicken and harden, eventually melting away during the summer months like a deflated soufflé.
Due to an unusually warm winter last year, the floating ice pier that is normally used to offload cargo melted badly this summer, making it unusable. A temporary floating pier had to be installed by the U.S. Army Transportation Corps.
Here’s an amazing time-lapse video of the whole process involving offloading of the supply ship which has been beautifully created by Anthony Powell
You can read about the whole incident here.