Cabin fever, folks. It takes its toll. Too much of one place can make the best of us a bit stir-crazy. The phenomena is more pronounced in the polar regions, where scientists often hole-up to perform studies. Limited space and close relationships mean the seasonal confinement make the research stations volatile places.
“Sergey Savitsky, an engineer, is accused of stabbing welder Oleg Beloguzov in the chest,” The LA Times writes. The Russians scientists’ relationship eroded to the point of violence after Beloguzov repeatedly revealed the ends of books Savitsky wanted to read.
The frustration is understandable, as the library at the station is limited. Books, which may seem oddly anachronistic to those of us who read online, are still a valuable commodity in Antarctica, where there are few ways to combat boredom.
The pair had been working at Bellingshausen Station, a Russian research station in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.
After stabbing his colleague, Interfax reports that Savitsky “surrendered on his own and without resistance to the station manager.” He was removed from the station and taken to St. Petersburg, where he was detained.
“Although he faces criminal charges in the Russian city, Savitsky will probably have access to plenty of books that Beloguzov hasn’t already read,” The Times surmises.
Beloguzov was airlifted to Chile for treatment for his stab wounds. He is expected to recover. He may also develop a deeper respect for the element of surprise often available to readers at the ends of books.
“They are both professional scientists who have been working in our expeditions, spending yearlong seasons at the station,” Alexander Klepikov, the deputy director of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, said. “It is down to investigators to figure out what sparked the conflict, but both men are members of our team.”
Or they were members of Klepikov’s team. It is uncertain if either of the two will be returning to the confines of Bellingshausen Station.