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Immediate report on the Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition 1959-60: VUWAE 3



The average temperature for December was 32.2°F. and for January 27.8°F. The maximum temperature was 54.2°F and the minimum 9.6°F, both occurring in December.

Judging from ice-conditions on the lakes and streams, and from the experiences of the two previous expeditions into the area, the temperatures recorded this summer were considerably colder than in a normal year. This was also the case at Scott Base and other points in McMurdo Sound.

The temperature did not rise above freezing point for two days in December and eleven days in January. The longest cold spell was from January 18 to 23 when the temperature remained constantly below freezing point.

Slight thawing occurred at Lake Vashka on three occaions in December following three two-days periods when the temperatures rose above 40°F. Apart from these occasions the lake remained permanently frozen to the edges.

No running water (apart from accasional trickles from thaw-pods) was noted in any of the streams in the entire valley system. This was quite different from the summer of 1957-58, when in January large streams were running into the east and west ends of Lake Vida. The the west of Lake Vashka a stream has, in other years, made a deep cut through the moraines, which would require a considerable flow; but this year no water was running. Therefore the attempt to measure the inflow into Lake Vashka (from which no water flows out) was curtailed. Even some of the small shallow lakes in the valley system remained ice-covered.