In 1954, Boston College alumnus Fr. Daniel Linehan, SJ, Founder of the Department of Geophysics and Director of Boston College’s Weston Observatory, was invited to participate in U.S. Navy Operation Deep Freeze to Antarctica. Over the course of three Southern Hemisphere summers, he conducted the first seismic ice measurements of the Antarctic, determining that rock was reached under a thickness of 8197 feet of ice at the South Pole. He also served as Catholic chaplain on board the USN Atka, participated in the rescue of a dying helicopter pilot, celebrated the first mass at the South Pole and delighted in the antics of penguins. His meticulously-written journals detail every aspect of Deep Freeze life, including capsule reviews of every B movie shown nightly on board to the crew.
The US Navy awarded Fr. Linehan the Distinguished Public Service Award in 1959 for his work with Operation Deep Freeze, and the Linehan Glacier was named in his honor.
The Burns Library maintains an extensive collection of Fr. Linehan’s writings as well as artifacts relating to his religious and scientific work. This exhibit highlights materials representing his work in Antarctica.