located at 77 degrees 51 minutes S, 166 degrees 40 minutes E, is the largest
Antarctic station. McMurdo is built on the bare volcanic rock of Hut Point
Peninsula on Ross Island, the solid ground farthest south that is accessible
The station was
established in December 1955. It is the logistics hub of the U.S. Antarctic
Program, with a harbor, landing strips on sea ice and shelf ice, and a
helicopter pad. Its 85 or so buildings range in size from a small radio
shack to large, three-story structures. Repair facilities, dormitories,
administrative buildings, a firehouse, power plant, water distillation
plant, wharf, stores, clubs, warehouses, and the first class Crary Lab are
linked by above-ground water, sewer, telephone, and power lines.
temperature extremes have been as low as minus 50 degrees Centigrade and as
high as plus 8 degrees Centigrade.
include Mount Erebus (an active volcano), McMurdo Sound (the station's
namesake, named for Lt. Archibald McMurdo of James Clark Ross's 1841
expedition), the Ross Ice Shelf, and the ice-free (dry) valleys of southern
is performed at and near McMurdo in marine and terrestrial biology,
biomedicine, geology and geophysics, glaciology and glacial geology,
meteorology, Aeronomy and Astrophysics, and upper atmosphere physics.
Information on Niobium:
Symbol: Nb, Atomic Number: 41, Atomic Weight:
92.90638, Density: 8.57 g/cc, Melting Point: 2477 degrees C.
Niobium is a shiny silver-white metal which is ductile and stable in air at
room temperature. The metal will slowly develop a bluish tinge when exposed
to air for a long time, and will readily oxidize at temperatures above
200°C. Niobium is chemically similar to Tantalum and as a result these
metals are difficult to separate from their ores. It has very good corrosion
resistance to diluted acids and certain other corrosive chemicals however it
is readily attacked by strong alkalis and hot concentrated acids.
Niobium is used extensively in alloys for corrosion resistance, and in
alloys for nuclear reactors. It is also used in body piercing jewelry due to
its bluish color. The metal was given it's current name in 1950, prior to
that it was called Columbium, a name that industry sometimes still uses to
identify the metal.