Science

The air is so dry in Antarctica that chips and popcorn never go stale. It also wrecks your skin, according to someone working there

Summary List PlacementThe air in Antarctica's remote Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is so dry that chips and popcorn never go stale, according to a worker that is currently living there That is because the station is not only one of the coldest places on Earth. The air there is also incredibly dry.  "It's the driest place on earth," Josiah "Joe" Horneman, a physician assistant working at the station over winter, told Insider.  Horneman uses TikTok to show that day-to-day life at the station is far from bleak.  Because the air can often reach -70 degrees Fahrenheit, it can't retain as much moisture. Any that...

Josiah Horneman, a man, is wearing a heavy red coat whilst walking in a corridor at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

Summary List Placement

The air in Antarctica’s remote Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is so dry that chips and popcorn never go stale, according to a worker that is currently living there

That is because the station is not only one of the coldest places on Earth. The air there is also incredibly dry. 

“It’s the driest place on earth,” Josiah “Joe” Horneman, a physician assistant working at the station over winter, told Insider. 

Horneman uses TikTok to show that day-to-day life at the station is far from bleak

Because the air can often reach -70 degrees Fahrenheit, it can’t retain as much moisture. Any that is introduced instantly freezes, a fact demonstrated by Horneman by tossing boiling water into the air:

@antwuhnet

Answer to @lewithe13 @joespinstheglobe and i throw boiling water in the air. so cold. so fun. ##antarctica ##southpole

♬ original sound – toni on ice

https://www.tiktok.com/embed.js

“This means flaky skin, constantly hydrating, bloody boogers, getting zapped whenever you touch metal,” Horneman said. 

But there are some unexpected perks to the air being that dry. 

“Your bath towel and hair (for those that have it) dry very fast,” Horneman said, adding: “Mildew and mold are non-existent.”

Another upside is that chips and popcorn never go stale, Horneman said. That’s useful as the staff have a popcorn machine that they use for every movie night and TV night, Horneman says in a TikTok post.

“I eat so much freaking popcorn here,” he said. 

Josiah Horneman points to a popcorn machine in the background at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

You can read more about life in the Antarctic winter in Insider’s full interview with Horneman and a colleague here.

 

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