Dry Valley

Back to gallery  |  Back to Thumbs  |  Previous  |  Next

Dry Valley

The Dry Valleys area in Antarctica is found to the West of McMurdo Sound in Victoria Land. It consists of around 4800 square kilometres (1850 square miles) of snow and ice free rock and gravel. It is a unique area not only in Antarctica but also on the surface of the earth in that it is intensely dry and intensely cold without there being any liquid or frozen water in any appreciable quantity at any time. The Dry Valleys are the closest on earth to the climate of Mars.

There are a number of glaciers that flow into the Dry Valleys, but while some show some melting and form seasonal lakes, streams and ponds, most of it simply evaporates. This happens due to the strong and almost constant katabatic winds that blow through the valleys. These winds can reach speeds of up to 320kmh (200 mph), sucking up all moisture and also blowing sand around that carves rocks into forms known as ventifacts.

More on the Dry Valleys

Photo; © Mike Usher - Pictures from an icebreaker cruise to Eastern Antarctica.