Antarctic Dictionary





drift noun Also drift snow

[Spec. use of drift a shower of rain, snow, etc., driven along by the wind, used since before 1300 (NOED).]

Wind-driven (rather than freshly fallen) snow, fine, powdery and penetrating, either flowing in the wind or accumulated in deposits which can quickly harden.

1900 Bernacchi, Louis in Murray, George, ed. (1901) The Antarctic manual, for the use of the expedition of 1901 Royal Geographical Society, London: 54.

The South Pole is covered by .. a great permanent anti-cyclone, more extensive in the winter months than in the summer. Nothing more appalling than these frightful winds, accompanied by tons of drift snow from the mountains above, can be imagined.

9 April 1902 Scott, Captain Robert F. (1905) The voyage of the 'Discovery' Macmillan and Co, London: 213.

At certain places it is undoubtedly calm, but at others the drift snow can be seen rising in clouds and sweeping furiously along.

5 Apr 1934 Byrd, Richard E. (1939) Alone Reader's Union Ltd and Putnam & Co Ltd, London: 69.

Drift was still sifting through the outlet ventilator and past the stovepipe. A full two and a half feet of drift lay packed over the trapdoor.

1957 Anderson, W. Ellery Expedition south Evans Brothers, London: 245.

Drifting snow that blew north across the face of the ice shelf was illuminated by the setting sun, forming an ankle-deep layer of fiery pink above the bluish surface of the ice ... To wade through this fiery drift, which was moving with a hissing sound as far as one could see, was like a journey into Dante’s Inferno.

1994 Chester, Jonathan Huskies: polar sledge dogs Margaret Hamilton Books, Sydney: 7.

While blizzards may carry freshly fallen snow they are more frequently composed of drift snow that is picked up by the violent winds.

drifted up participial adjective Also drifted in

Partly or wholly covered by drift.

4 May 1902 (Hut Point) Scott, Captain Robert F. (1905) The voyage of the 'Discovery' Macmillan and Co, London: 237.

The dogs do not like the idea of being drifted-up; very few had used their kennels during the storm, preferring to coil themselves down outside, where they could break out when the weight of snow got too great.

1969 (Amery Ice Shelf) Aurora. The official journal of the ANARE club [Melbourne] June: 5.

The wind, slightly katabatic in effect, blew almost continuously down the ice shelf, causing the near permanent wall of drift ... Caravans and huts were soon drifted up and frequently the only entrance was the roof escape hatch.

1982 Jackson, Andrew, ed. ANARE field manual, 2nd edn [Australian] Antarctic Division, Department of Science and Technology: 57.

By parking across the wind this provides minimum disturbance to drifting snow and minimum inconvenience for drifted-in trains.

The Antarctic Dictionary, Hince, 2000; 106