McMurdo Dry Valleys

From: Antarctic Travel Guide

See also: Antarctica Cruises

McMurdo Dry Valleys
The Dry Valleys are appropriately named because they are free of snow and ice cover and have very low humidity levels, forming one of the most inhospitable areas on earth.

Located in Victoria Land which is to the west of McMurdo Sound, the main valleys include the Taylor, McKelvey, Wright, Victoria, Barwick and Balham valleys, although there are several smaller valleys in the area as well.

These arid valleys are incredibly windy and extremely cold, and contain a surface layer made up largely of gravel with some larger boulders.

There are several lakes found upon the valley floors which as you can imagine are frozen for all or most of the year. Within the Wright Valley runs the river Onyx, which is formed by glacial melt and is the longest river in Antarctica.

Access to the Dry Valleys is via helicopter where you will be taken to a specific tourist zone within the Taylor Valley, it is from here you will be able to observe this incredibly baron and resilient ecosystem.