Record set for crossing Antarctica

LONDON, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- A United Kingdom expedition to the Antarctic has claimed the record for the fastest land crossing of the ice-covered continent, officials said.

The 10-member team of the Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition completed the crossing in less than 13 days, smashing previous records, the BBC reported Thursday.


The team set off from the Union Glacier airstrip Nov. 25 and arrived Thursday on the Ross Ice Shelf, 1,209 miles away.

The team, composed of explorers, mechanics and scientists, traveled in convoy led by a propeller-driven scout vehicle. Two large trucks followed, carrying most of the crew and equipment.

The expedition used ice-penetrating radar to avoid crevasses.

The scientists conducted several tests en route, including collecting samples of snow to test for trace metals to track the passage of pollutants within the Southern Hemisphere, the BBC said.

"The team will now retrace their tracks to the South Pole, and back to the west coast at Union Glacier," the expedition's Web site said. "They hope to complete the return trip in around nine days; they will then be the only vehicle-based expedition ever to complete the there-and-back journey."

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