RAMS AT THE END OF THE EARTH

RAMS AT THE END OF THE EARTH

BY KATE HAWTHORNE JERACKI

FOR MORE THAN A half-century, international treaties have set Antarctica aside to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes in the interests of all humankind. Researchers from more than 50 countries conduct scientific investigations on the nearly 5.5 million square miles around the South Pole each year.

This United Nations at the ends of the Earth features three geographical features that carry the names of researchers from Colorado State University: a peak, a glacier and a valley. Meet the scientists who have left more than footprints at the bottom of the world.

ASTER GLACIER | 78°35 S, 85°0 W

In the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains of West Antarctica, this glacier was named in 2006 for Richard C. Aster, head of the Department of Geophysics in the Warner College of Natural Resources. Aster, a seismologist, has been involved in ice, ocean, and tectonic research and imaging at the Mount Erebus volcano observatory on Ross Island. He received the National Science Foundation Antarctic Services Medal for his fieldwork in Antarctica.

DETLING PEAK | 75’14’S, 114°52’W

The cone-shaped, ice-covered peak in the Kohler Range was named for James K. Detling who served as a biologist with the U.S. Antarctic Research Program’s Marie Byrd Land Survey Party, 1966-67. Detling, now professor emeritus of ecology in the College of Natural Sciences, went on to become an expert in grassland ecology while teaching at Colorado State’s Natural Resources Ecology Lab for more than 30 years.

WALL VALLEY | 77°29’S 160°51’E

This upland valley in the Olympus Range east of McMurdo Station near the Ross Ice Shelf was named in 2004 after Diana Wall, professor of soils biology, University Distinguished Professor, and director of CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability. At the time, she had completed 13 research seasons as a principal investigator in the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research Program, studying nematodes; she has continued her annual trips ever since.

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