How icebreakers work — and why they sometimes don’t

Image: Snow dragon

So near, and yet so far: The Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon (Xue Long) sits in the Antarctic icepack, unable to get through to the Akademik Shokalskiy on Saturday. This picture was taken from the Shokalskiy.

For the past week, 74 scientists, tourists, journalists and crew members have been stuck aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy in the midst of an expedition to celebrate the centennial of Australian geologist Douglas Mawson’s polar odyssey. So far, thick ice and bad weather have foiled efforts to free the ship. The Shokalskiy’s passengers have ample supplies — but at some point, rescuers will have to decide whether to keep trying to break the ship loose or evacuate it using helicopters.   The Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon (Xue Long) tried to approach the Shokalskiy over the weekend, but had to stay miles away because it couldn’t crack through ice that ranges up to 10 feet (3 meters) thick. An Australian icebreaker, the Aurora Australis, is in the area but waiting for the weather to improve.….MORE


About Indian Rocks Bridge

We have a HUGE responsibility to protect our children and their futures. Our Gulf of Mexico has nearly been destroyed by the Deep-water Horizon catastrophe and many families here will never recover. Paradise lost, so it goes. I’m doing my best to apolitically educate anyone that cares about the impact on our environment by technology and “for-profit” progress. We forget, too frequently that we SHARE this planet with millions of other life-forms and as the most “powerful” species, we must be more cognizant of our greed versus the well-being of our planet. Thanks again for visiting and please check back often. -Gregg
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