New Zealand scientist Vernon Gerard’s monitoring of geomagnetic field changes was a notable contribution to the International Geophysical Year. He is shown here using a quartz horizontal magnetometer, about 1957. Like the other scientists at Scott Base, Gerard helped build the base before he was able to start work. The site wasn’t ideal; its location on the side of Mt Erebus, an active volcano, meant that there were strong magnetic anomalies in the area. There were other difficulties. Gerard recalled that Edmund Hillary (in charge of constructing the base) was ‘sufficiently understanding to know that as my work involved 12 hourly visits to one of the magnetic huts it might be hazardous in a blizzard. So he personally erected a life-line from the main science hut. It was sometimes necessary in the continuous darkness and blizzards ... [e]specially when the temperature fell down to -50 degrees celsius.' (Vernon Gerard, Old Antarctic days, http://www.oldantarcticdays.com/?p=29)
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