"Searching for meteorites and camping in Antarctica" Antarctica by XenoHumph

Antarctica Travel Guide: 1,173 reviews and 2,746 photos

Above: The biggest meteorite we found-Miller Range

I spent 2 months in Antarctica (Dec 2011-Jan 2012) as part of an expedition looking for meteorites on the ice cap of Antarctica, at the edge the Transantarctic Mountains. The Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program has been in place since the early 1970'.

Our team maintained a blog, that we uploaded by satellite phones:

Also to know more about why we search for meteorites in Antarctica or what are meteorites to start with, please go here:

One of our camps in Antarctica

Good old "Scott tents" that can resist high winds.
Eight scientists alone in the middle of nowhere!

Also you can go see my videos of Antarctica in YouTube about our camp sites, katabatic winds, LC130 plane, driving a skidoo on blue ice, etc...

Finally, this is a very unique VT page about Antarctica: it does not have any pictures of penguins!!! Yes, I went to Antarctica and I did not see a single live penguin...

Map of Ross Sea & Transantarctic Mountains

This map shows you the area I am describing in this travel page: Ross island including McMurdo base, Miller Range and CTAM in the Transantarctic Mountains.

I modified it from a map in the wonderful coffee table book "Antarctica; Secrets of the Southern Continent" by David McGonigal, Firefly Editions. If you go to Antarctica, I strongly advise that you buy this book. It will introduce you to the geography, geology, climate, flora, fauna, and exploration history of the continent, all written by scientists, and it is beautifully illustrated.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful and unspoiled
  • Cons:Cold, dry and windy
  • In a nutshell:So much ice, and rock and snow! And more ice, so much ice!
  • Last visit to Antarctica: Jan 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (35)

Comments (9)

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    excellent write up and great pictures. no penguins but you still got a happy seal or two into the fray ;-]

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Write your comment...

  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2013 at 8:23 AM

    2 months looking for meteorites. What a great trip that must have been! PJ

  • xoxoxenophile's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    So, question about Antarctica. Is it windy/how is the windchill? I know that for me, when it's 0F I handle it just fine, however when it's 0F with a -30F wind chill (like today where I live), it's just terrible. So I'm wondering how Antarctica is as far as that? Of course you guys wear those orange suits and not jeans and winter coats like people around here, but I'm curious. :)

    • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
      Feb 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Windchill is as bad in Antarctica as everywhere else! Plus it blasts snow on you and buries your tents and your gear... Lots of digging stuffs out when you camp in Antarctica! Thanks for visiting my page!

    • xoxoxenophile's Profile Photo
      Feb 20, 2013 at 8:17 AM

      It sounds like a South Dakota winter with the blowing snow and cold temperatures, though a lot colder I'm sure!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Feb 18, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    No Penguins, but what an adventure! It has been very interesting to read about your visit in the Antarctica!

    • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
      Feb 18, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      Thank you for visiting my Antarctica page! I saw a stuffed penguin in the lab and a mommified one in Scott's hut...

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    I really enjoyed reading your material on your Antarctic trip. Some similarities (Antarctica itself doesn't change) and some differences (I'd expect somewhat better technology than we had way back). For tourists heading down, I particularly encourage reading your "favourites" tip re cameras.

    • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
      Jan 28, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      Thank you so much for checking out my Antarctica page! I enjoyed yours a lot.

  • SailingSplit's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Sorry I found he pictures:)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Great that you are looking for meteorites in Antarctica! I just had a look at your team blog and discovered that the temperature in McMurdo is -8 °C., which by coincidence is also the temperature here in Frankfurt am Main right now.

    • Nemorino's Profile Photo
      Feb 16, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      I see you have added lots of new tips and undated all the others since I last looked at this page a year ago. Did you keep count of how many meteorites you found?
      Meteorites are very much in the news right now since one of them exploded over Siberia this week. Do you know if any have ever exploded over Antarctica? Even if they don’t explode, I imagine they must be very hot on impact, so they must melt the ice or even create steam.
      Thanks for your explanation of how the meteorites are transported and concentrated by the ice slowly flowing north and being stopped by the mountains.

    • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
      Feb 16, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Thank you for visiting & rating my Antarctica page! yes, very exciting time right now for me and my colleagues. No record of exploding meteorite on Antarctica. If it occurred in the past, we would not know, no trees to blast like in Tungunska, and the ice covered by more ice or already disappeared in the ocean. Meteorites cool extremely quick once on the ground, people have picked up pieces after witnessed falls. Meteorites may dig in the ice when they fall and melt it a bit, I suppose, high pressure and temparature from impact. The ones we picked up may have fallen thousands of years before, or the month before, hard to know in the field (you can determine this in the lab). We found 300 meteorites in 6 weeks which is not much for a season and that was because we had bad weather. The ANSMET expeditions have brought back more than 20000 meteorites since 1976!

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Taking travel to new heights! Very 'cool' ;-] !!


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