March 28, 2023

The mysterious death of an Australian astrophysicist. The first homicide at the South Pole?

DA Harper

Rodney Marks with the SPIREX telescope in 1998.

The death of an Australian astrophysicist in Antarctica in 2000 continues to arouse the curiosity of the authorities. Was this the first homicide at the South Pole?

Rodney David Marks was an Australian astrophysicist working at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, in Antarctica. Marks arrived in Antarctica in November 1999 as part of a team conducting cosmic radiation research.

In May 2000, he became ill with a serious medical condition that required emergency treatment. Due to the extreme weather conditions at the station and the limited medical facilities available, Marks was unable to receive the medical treatment he needed and died tragically before being discharged and treated.

Amundsen-Scott Station, located at an altitude of 2,835 meters above sea level, is one of the most isolated and inhospitable places on Earth. Temperatures can drop to -60°C and the station is cut off from the outside world for most of the year due to the Antarctic cold.

In May 2000, Marks began to feel Stomach pain and other symptoms, which progressively worsened. The station’s medical staff initially suspected he had a kidney stone and treated him accordingly.

However, the Australian’s condition continued to deteriorate and he became seriously ill. It soon became clear that he needed emergency medical care that was beyond the capabilities of the medical facilities available on the station.

Marx’s condition continued to deteriorate as well ended up in a coma. On May 12, 2000, he died at the age of 32.

Initially, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station issued a statement, cited by the website Grunge, in which it said that Marks “apparently he had died of natural causes.”

methanol in the blood

As it was winter in Antarctica, the body of the astrophysicist he had to wait five months before being transferred for an autopsy, in New Zealand. Ultimately, the results revealed that Marks had toxic levels of methanol in the blood.

The scientist used a solvent, which contained methanol, to clean the telescopes he was working with. However, this does not explain how the methanol got into his blood. The pathologist who performed an autopsy on the body said it was “Almost certainly caught.”

Detective Grant Wormald, who led the investigation into the death of Rodney Marks, said Murder could not be confirmed or ruled out based on available data.

“Common sense told us there were only four possibilities for how Rodney ingested the methanol. Um, him he drank voluntarily and knowingly intending to reach high. two, that he he took it to end your life; three, that he accidental ingestion; and finally this someone put it in your drinkpossibly as a joke or even if he knew it would make him very sick or kill him,” the detective said, according to Grunge.

Although Wormald requested a forensic examination of Marks’ items, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station he didn’t seem to want to cooperate. He eventually explained that this would violate his privacy standard.

His colleagues at the station were also uncooperative. with the research. Authorities sent a questionnaire to the 49 people who were with Marks when he died, but only 13 people responded.

Harry Mahar, who was the health and safety officer, revealed that the Amundsen-Scott station had investigated whether bottle at the station was mislabeledbut the results were not made public.

Although there are many theories, there has never been a definitive answer as to what happened to Rodney Marks. Was this the first homicide at the South Pole?

Daniel Costa, ZAP //

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