Arctic - Antarctica
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Ross Island (not to be mistaken with James Ross Island) is located in Ross Sea, Antarctica (off the Victoria Land's coast) and in McMurdo Sound. Due to the persistent presence of ice sheet, the isle is sometimes taken to be part of mainland Antarctica.
- The island has a total area of 2460 km2 (950 ml2), population of around 100 inhabitants and highest elevation point (Mount Erebus) 3794 m (12448 ft). Only a small portion of is free of ice and snow.
- The island was discovered in 1841 by James Clark Ross (1800-1862, a British Royal Navy officer and Antarctic explorer) and later named in his honor by Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912, a British Royal Navy officer and Antarctic explorer).
- Ross Island served as base for many early expeditions to Antarctica. It is still the continent's southernmost island reachable by sea. Still standing on the island are the huts built by Shackleton's and Scott's expeditions, preserved as historical sites.
- Currently, on Ross Island are operated the Scott Base (New Zealand), and the biggest Antarctic settlement - the McMurdo Station (USA). The World Park Base was established by Greenpeace and operated for 5 years (1987-1992).
- McMurdo Station is an USA Antarctic research base located on the island's southern tip. The station is the Antarctica's largest community (population around 1,300) and serves as the USA's main Antarctic science facility. All the US personnel and cargo to or from the Amundsen–Scott Station (on the South Pole) pass through McMurdo.
- On March 3, 1962, was activated a nuclear power plant at the McMurdo Station. The plant was prefabricated in modules, weighing no more than 14 tons each. These weight restrictions allowed the nuclear reactor to be delivered to the island by air - in an LC-130 Hercules aircraft. However, all the components were delivered by cargo ship. The reactor was designed to generate 1,8 MW of power, thus replacing the need for around 5700 L of oil daily. The generated electrical power was also used to produce steam for the station's salt water distillation plant (providing fresh water). Due to continuing safety issues (cracks and water leaks), the plant was decommissioned in 1972 and replaced by conventional diesel generators. These generators produce 500 kW of electric power.
Ross Island cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Ross Island dock (anchor) at McMurdo Station - port on the southern coast.