Where are the coldest places in Antarctica? That may seem like a silly question but when considering putting some seeds into cold storage for a thousand years, the consistently colder the better. Another factor is the glacial flow because if we want someone to be able to find the seeds in a thousand years our Earthark containers can’t be put into an ice-flow or they will soon drift away and be lost. Volcanic mountains with portions which rise above the snow and show bare mineral soil will probably remain findable locations and if it were loose soil the Eartharks could be easily be buried, partially at least, to protect them from the weather.
The location discussed in the story The Revivification Of Mother Earth is at a place called Patriot Hills, at ( -80.30 -81.21 ). Cut and paste these coordinates into Google Earth location box. It is a free download program. Another possible place would be the very remote and very isolated Mt. Wollard, at (-80.425 -97.794 ). It is barely mentioned in a Google search. A small Earthark package placed on its summit would be quite safe and easily findable by a dedicated team. Each year some mountain climbers scale remote mountains and if some of them would carry even a one kilogram Earthark package to those summits they would be kept cold and easily findable by future people. That would be far better than simply leaving their signature in a signature-log-bottle at the summit. Every mountain top in the world should have an Earhtark box at its summit. This is a doeable project for the Earthark community. Mt. Hampton an extinct volcano at ( -76.438 -126.080 ) on the extreme north-west side, called Whitney Peak, there is some exposed rock which should be easy to locate. It is about 300 kilometers from the sea and is in the blue area right above the label DVQ, in the map above. Its altitude makes it easy to find with minimal navigation equipment and at a distance of 300 km it is remote but not impossible to reach and return in less than a month of on foot sledding. The mountains at ( -82.88 +60.60 ) are located at the center of Antarctica and are even more remote from the civilized world than the south pole. It is 2,000 kilometers over ice to the open sea in every direction and getting there and back would be a major effort even in modern times. Thus an Earthark located there would have a very high rating for security from human predation.
This is a stunning composite picture of Antarctica and I recommend viewing it at full resolution. Another help is this really big map of Antarctica but it doesn’t show anything where these mountains discussed here are located. For a great experience, if you have the computer power, run both of these and Google Earth simultaneously, along with a browser. Another good site near the center of of this picture of Antarctica would be ( -85.62 +54.73 ). It is the dim circular feature the previous site is the black dot at 2 o’clock from it. And another barely visible at this scale equidistant from the other two at 5 0′clock is at ( -83.55 +82.95 ). It has a 66 kilometer ridge reminiscent of an impossibly large impact crater with a radius of 410 kilometer. This ridge is a good Earthark site and because of its arc shape in Antarctica it makes a nice word play on the word ark.
All of these sites would be very difficult to resupply from outside of Antarctica because they are so very far away. Punta Areans is 4,686 kilometers, Capetown, 6,024 km, Christchurch 5,147 km and Hobart 5,275 km. Thus round trips merely parachuting materials in would be beyond the useful capability of airplanes. The most reasonable air supply to these sites would be from McMurdo Station in Antarctica and even that would be 1,650 km one way. That is 3300 km round trip or 2,050 miles. That is like flying from San Francisco to Detroit for comparison. It is doable but there are no airports or people in between and needless to say it would be a long walk out if you crashed. It is 14,171 km from the San Francisco, Golden Gate to the South Pole. I haven’t found the stable sub-surface temperatures of these sites yet but a meter under the surface at the South Pole is -48°C and it is reasonable to assume that at these sites it would probably be adequate for storing seeds.
20090128 After quite a lot of search at the UC Berkeley Map room we found that the Russians had a base near what I think is the mountain above. A Google Czech to English translated quote beneath their map said:
“It is the unavailability of the ground, which is the outermost point of the coast of Antarctica, which is the position of 83 degrees south latitude and 55 degrees east longitude. Not far from here there is a Russian Arctic base Vostok, below the depth of three kilometers, is the same extensive underground lake, and here was the lowest average temperature measured at the surface of our planet -58 degrees Celsius.”
The stated location of their camp ( -83 +55 ) is about 74 km west of the ( -82.88 +60.60 ) mountains listed above. The stated temperature is -58 and in the mountains a little higher, where an Earthark might be placed, it might be even colder.
2009/01/29 – From the Russian Wikipedia – South Pole unavailability (85 ° 50 ‘S., 65 ° 47′ E = -85.83 +65.78) is a place in the Antarctic, which has the largest distance from the ocean surrounding the icy continent. It is situated 463 km from the South Pole, at an altitude of 3,718 m above sea level for the first time it reached in 1957 the Soviet Antarctic expedition. Today in this place is a building marked with a statue of VI Lenin, and the place is historically protected.