By Bill Streever
From avalanches to glaciers, from seals to snowflakes, and from Shackleton's excursion to "The yr with out Summer," invoice Streever trips via historical past, fantasy, geography, and ecology in a year-long look for cold--real, icy, 40-below chilly. In July he unearths it whereas taking a dip in a 35-degree Arctic swimming gap; in September whereas excavating our planet's historical and never so old ice a while; and in October whereas exploring hibernation behavior in animals, from people to wooden frogs to bears.
A scientist whose ardour for chilly runs pink sizzling, Streever is a wondrous consultant: he conjures woolly titanic carcasses and the ice-age Clovis tribe from melting glaciers, and he inspires blizzards so wild readers may well freeze--limb via vicarious limb.
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Additional resources for Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places
Because so many of the storm’s victims were children, the blizzard became known as the School Children’s Blizzard. Sergeant Samuel Glenn, based in Huron, South Dakota, working for Greely’s Weather Bureau, described the suddenness and severity of the storm: The air, for about one minute, was perfectly calm, and voices and noises on the street below appeared as though emanating from great depths. A peculiar hush prevailed over everything. In the next minute the sky was completely overcast by a heavy black cloud, which had in a few minutes previously hung suspended along the western and northwestern horizon, and the wind veered to the west (by the southwest quadrant) with such violence as to render the observer’s position very unsafe.
After three weeks, Nansen was within four degrees of the pole, a new record, but there he turned. Heading south, the two men over-wintered on an island. They dug a hole three feet deep, which would have meant chiseling through permafrost with the consistency of hardened concrete. They put stones three feet high around the hole and then roofed it with walrus hides and snow. They laid in game, mostly bear. Nansen and his companion gained weight that winter. Other expeditions at the time, if they went well, were at best exercises in survival.
Late in the summer, the rod will penetrate eighteen inches, thirty inches, three feet, and then hit what feels like bedrock. But it is a bedrock of frozen sand or gravel or fine glacial flour, glued together by ice. In some places, three-quarters of the soil is in fact frozen water. Put a building on this stuff, heat the building and warm up the ground, and the ice will start to melt. What makes this tunnel unusual is that the government dug into the frozen ground, then kept it frozen. In summer, the massive air conditioner keeps the tunnel chilled near its entrance, where warm drafts sneak past doors.