June 16, 2006 at 4:43 am #912
Would like to hear from anyone who worked at Siple Station, especially anyone who was there for it’s last Winter… 1986November 23, 2007 at 4:25 pm #8550
Noticed you are looking for someone who wintered at Siple during the 85-86 Winter. I am standing by.November 23, 2007 at 6:51 pm #8551
Hi Vikingdoc, welcome.
I don’t know if Siple13 still visits the board. You might want to PM or email him.November 24, 2007 at 3:55 am #8552
I’m still here! Vikingdoc… email me!November 28, 2007 at 12:11 am #8553
I was there in 83. Wasn’t it closed in 84 for one season?
DaikanNovember 28, 2007 at 1:04 am #8554
Sure nice to see some folks that know what Siple is. it is not Siple Coast or Siple Dome or any of that glaciology stuff. It was that little station way far away from McMurdo. Each three LC-130 flights to Siple required two flights to Byrd to position fuel for the return stop.
I would have to do a bit of research to pull up the dates that Siple wasclosed for the winter. I remeber we were very far behind flying fuel to the station and we just didn’t have enought time left in the season to get you guys enough fuel. No point staying for the winter if you could run the big generator for the transmissions. I was the NSF Rep at McMurdo at the time.
Been ThereNovember 28, 2007 at 3:05 am #8555
We may have been that little station way far away but we had water! Folks used to come to Siple to do laundry and for a shower 🙂 As for the fuel situation, during 83 we measured every gallon we used during that year. Funny thing, the station didn’t use as much as folks thought, and we had something like 20,000 gal left after the year. It was nice to know that we weren’t going to be cold.
81 PA SSL
83 SI SSLNovember 30, 2007 at 6:10 pm #8556
You are right Daiken, we were the little station that could….it was closed for the 84 season. I got a call from NSFA, they wanted to know if I would come back for the summer season to open the old station, appears there weren’t many in NSFA at the time who had been there. Short answer my skipper wouldn’t let me go so when they then asked if I wanted to winter again I jumped at the chance to go back. No – we didn’t break Siple that isn’t why it eventually closed after the 86 season.
Yes Been There, it is good to talk to folks who actually can distinguish Siple from Siple Coast and Dome.November 30, 2007 at 9:01 pm #8557
Vikingdoc is right, as hard as we tried our winter at Siple, we couldn’t break the place… although I think it broke at least one member of our crew or quite possibly he could have been broken at the start.December 1, 2007 at 4:49 am #8558
Well, I must say that I know of Siple…I got sent out there for a few days in January 1988 to look at the structural problems. And while I was there (!) NSF announced that the place would be shut down for good. Now that was a strange experience…lots of long faces on the Stanford folks. Jon Martinson was running the station for ITT/ANS at the time. I left on the next to last flight in 1988 (a small crew went back in 1988-89 to retrograde stuff). I’ll always remember those few days with neat people at an interesting part of the continent that few folks got to see.December 1, 2007 at 5:37 am #8559
Hey Bill, I notice you were at Palmer in 1989-1990,… so was I for the summer season (I was your chef), I wintered there in 1987-88, 1999, and 2000December 1, 2007 at 1:36 pm #8560
And for those that didn’t know, that was Siple II that closed. The orginal Siple was around 60 feet down by then. Saw interesting to go into the old station, which was still used to store fuel. You had to wear a hard hat as I recall, since the bolts in the old arch were being sheared off due to the pressure from the snow build up.
BTDecember 2, 2007 at 2:45 am #8561
Old Siple was a nice place to go for some peace and quiet, except when the rivets were popping. Everyone knows how noisy and hectic it can be when you winter with 6 other people, it’s nice to have a place for solitude. Another refuge from the crowd was the Aurora Hut. It was nice to have a heated place to gaze at stars when it was 80 below with 20-40 knot winds.December 2, 2007 at 4:37 am #8562
Yeah, during my 1988 visit I saw signs of the popped rivets, but fortunately none hit me 🙂 One thing I did was collect all of the settlement/arch collapse data from both stations and plot it on a big graph on the dining table (borrowed lots of graph paper from Bill Trabucco) and predicted that the power plant would get hit by the collapsing arch in April 1990 if nothing were done. Of course nothing was done and no one went back to check my calcs.
I talked Mickey Finn (my boss in McM) and Jon Martinson (Siple SM) into letting me stay an extra day, and got to spend a night in the buried station. I do have lots of pictures, unfortunately most of the ones from down in Siple I turned out way too dark. I still hope to put some of them on my web site someday. One of the classic photos is in the food cache dug off the tunnel between the bottom of the Siple II shaft and the ladder down to Siple I. When they dug it, they discovered the bottoms of bamboo poles sticking down from the top of the cache. Oh well, here is a quick edit:December 2, 2007 at 6:57 pm #8563
I wish I could have visited there…
A while back I was doing some training with Lou Lanzerotti at Lucent technologies (formerly Bell Labs), who’s fairly famous in the upper-atmospheric physics community. He had this story to tell; perhaps you can confirm/deny/embellish some of this:
Sometime before the original Siple station was built, the government was very interested in Very Low Frequency radio wave propagation. So they went to Bell Labs and asked them where the best place in the world was to study VLF. (VLF radio waves follow the magnetic field lines of the earth, so they already knew it would be near one of the magnetic poles.) The scientists at Bell Labs mapped out the magnetic field lines and the associated “L-bands”, and figured out the theoretical best place to listen to VLF. They put a pin in a map, and that’s where Siple station was built.
A while later they figured out two things:
1. You didn’t have to be at that exact place. In fact, you could be quite a distance away and still study VLF just as well.
2. The area of Antarctica where Siple Station was built is one of the snowiest places on the continent.
Bill Trabucco had similar stories. What I never found out is whether the VLF system at Palmer was built before or after Siple Station, but it’s still one of the best VLF study sites in the world.
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