Looking out the window


The flight crew invites Isabelle and me to sit on the flight deck for take off.
We fly by the summit of Mt Discovery shortly after leaving Willie Field. Minna Bluff extends about 30 miles to the east (upward in this picture).
We fly southward along the Transantarctic Mountains, which provide dramatic scenery.
Large glaciers flowing out of the mountains are the source of ice that becomes the Ross Ice Shelf along its western side.

We turn eastward and fly away from the mountains.  The ice shelf is a  sheet of snow-covered ice as far as the eye can see. In places where ice is under stress, it forms large cracks known as crevasses.

Crevasse field

but for the most part the ice shelf is nearly featureless except for small wind ripples in the snow.

Shadow of plane on the snow.

Although the vast, often featureless ice shelf is an amazing sight, there is much more to be learned from our instruments than from looking out the window.