Shackleton Centenary Expedition

The Illustrated Antarctic Glossary June 19 2006

Words you will need to know if you're going to the South Pole. Please note, this page is very much a work in progress, we'll be gently adding to it over the coming months.

Any wind that flows downhill from a slope (from the Greek 'kata', meaning downwards). Nowhere are katabatic winds stronger than in the Antarctic, where they flow down from the heights of Plateau, and have been recorded at speeds of up to 96 m/s, or 200 mph.

"We had bad winds at Cape Evans this year, and we had far worse the next winter when the open water was at our doors. But I have never heard or felt or seen a wind like this. I wondered why it did not carry away the Earth."



South Pole Station with sastrugi clearly visible in the foreground

Sharp irregular ridges formed on a snow surface by wind erosion and deposition. The ridges are parallel to the direction of the prevailing wind. From the Russian word zastrugi, and sometimes given as sostrugi, or zastruga.

Congealed fat, meat and fruit blocks eaten by Edwardian Antarctic explorers to keep up their calorie count while manhauling across the ice. On the plus side, it can be stored almost indefinitely. On the minus side, pemmican tastes as disgusting as it sounds: modern explorers have better ways to maintain extreme-calorie diets.

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