Yesterday, after my African American History presentation to the Bureau of Reclamation, I receive an unexpected gift.
The librarian reminds me that the National Ice Core Lab is nearby. I head over and get a tour from Richard Nunn, Assistant Curator and Geologist of the ice cores. What a knowledgeable resource, he is! This lab stores the world's collection of ice cores in a room -36°F. My interest is of course the Byrd expeditions. In the very back, where the temperature, with windchill, was about -60°F ( Calculated from the old formula- On November 1, 2001, a new formula was adopted, which makes it a little warmer :-).
We're there for about 10 minutes. It takes me an hour to warm up! Totally worth it.
The tubes from the 1940s and 50s are made from metal. The new tubes are cardboard.
They keep the first ice cores, from Admiral Byrd's 1947 expedition for posterity sake. Since the most of the air is gone from the samples, the data they collect isn't accurate.
What a thrill to see the cores, with ice anywhere from 10,000 to 70,000 years old.
In the summer, the faculty plays in the thousands of year old 'snow' from the shavings they discard. My mind is racing with climate science questions and possibilities!
We are All Antarctica is a story about my father George W. Gibbs, Jr’s adventures as the first person of African descent to set foot on the continent of Antarctica. He sailed on the famous ship the USS Bear in 1939 to 1941 on Admiral Byrd’s III expedition to the South Pole. It was the first joint venture with the US military and private exploration. Gibbs went on to serve humanity in countless ways, paving the way for not only people of color in the community of Rochester, MN but for all people to become more human, serve their community and appreciate differences.
Through compassion, tenacity, faith and countless hours in the trenches, Gibbs’ life is a model for community service, equality and fun. As the lowest rank on the ship, he was honored for his contribution at a time when people with dark skin were considered less than human.
This story integrates my experiences with natural healing, the arts, the science of the ice, the metaphysics of the South Pole and the history of the expedition and its mystery.