Penguins and Smoking Mt. Erebus

Dear Mr. Dave,

Hi, How are you doing? I am fine. I have seen those pictures. Thank you for sending them for all of our eyes to examine. What do Emperor penguins look like? How big are they? I feel sorry for that "lone penguin". It must have been left out from the rest of them or forgotten.

Have you ever seen a whale or a dolphin before? What is you favorite part about Antarctica? What is your favorite color? Well, I have to go!! BYE!!

Your best friend always,

P.S. Please write back soon BYE!!

Hi Nickle,

The Emperor penguins are much larger than the Adelie penguins in the pictures I sent before. The Emperor penguins can get 4 feet tall. They were too far away to get any pictures, but I could see them out on the ice. I watched them for a few minutes through a telescope, and they were very comical. They stood around in a group for a while, then they started swinging their heads. It almost looked like they were talking to each other. Then they slid across the ice on their bellies and into the water. Maybe the lone penguin was the life guard on whale watch. I have seen some whales here, but I am not sure if dolphins get this far south.

My favorite part of Antarctica now is the color. For the first few months, the only colors I saw were the black of the rock, the white of the snow, and the blue of the sky. It was kinda boring. Now we have hours of pretty colors in the sky. Although the sun will not rise again until August 19, the sun is right below the horizon at noon. For several hours each side of noon, we get some really pretty colors. I guess blue is my favorite color.

Thanks for writing,

Dear Mr. Dave,

How are you? I haven't written to you in a long time, sorry. You probably don't remember me, I am Holly. The one who likes seals. Do you remember me? I saw the picture of the Erebus mountain. Are you afraid that it's going to erupt? Ms. Weeg said that you only live twenty-five miles from the mountain. That has to be scary. Do you ever feel the ground shake because of the mountain? Well got to go Bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your Friend,

Hi Holly,

I remember you, it has not been that long since you wrote. I have not seen any seals for quite a while. They must be searching for warmer waters. I heard that there were some Leopard seals spotted in the open water area a few weeks ago. I have been told that they are the really mean seals.

Mount Erebus erupts from time to time, but I do not worry about it. The lava pools in the cone are open, so it does not build up pressure. I have not felt the ground shake, but there are several earthquakes every day. They are mild and cannot be felt. The earthquake activity has had a few days of increased activity in the past few weeks. There are chart recorders in the office next to mine, that record all the quakes. I look at the charts occasionally to see what is happening.

Thanks for writing,

Dear Mr. Dave,

Hello, It's me, Ashley. I'm sorry, I haven't kept in touch. I heard that you have been seeing smoke coming out of Mt. Erebus. I would love to see it , but not that much. I am afraid that it would erupt. Are you scared that it might erupt? What is your favorite part about being near the volcano? Do you know when you are coming back? If you do please tell me! Well gotta'go, Bye

Your Friend,

Hi Ashley,

I have seen smoke many times, but it is very difficult to capture with the camera. Most times of the year, the smoke is so close to the color of the sky that it fades in to the sky when looking at the pictures. Another factor is the wind, which can easily get over 100 mph at the top of the Erebus cone. When the wind is strong, it blows the smoke away instead of allowing it to rise. I have to admit that the day I took the picture, it had more smoke than I had ever seen before. My favorite part of being this close to a volcano is watching it from day to day.

I am not sure when I will be going home, but it will probably be sometime between October and December. Before I can leave, they have to get another person here and trained. Even though I will be leaving, the operations go on. Thanks for writing,
David Hess NK3T
Presently living in beautiful downtown McMurdo, Antarctica.

Search The Global Classroom
Patricia A. Weeg
Return to Global Classroom