14 Facts About Rodney Marks


Rodney David Marks was an Australian astrophysicist who died from methanol poisoning while working in Antarctica.


Rodney Marks was engaged to Sonja Wolter, who was overwintering as a maintenance specialist at the base in order to be with him.


On 11 May 2000, Rodney Marks became unwell while walking between the remote observatory and the base.


Rodney Marks became increasingly sick over a 36-hour period, three times returning increasingly distressed to the station's doctor.


Advice was sought by satellite, but Rodney Marks died on 12 May 2000, aged 32, with his condition undiagnosed.


The National Science Foundation issued a statement saying that Rodney Marks had "apparently died of natural causes, but the specific cause of death ha[d] yet to be determined".


Rodney Marks was buried in Bellbrae Cemetery, Mount Duneed, Victoria, Australia.


Rodney Marks' body was held for nearly six months over winter before it could be flown to Christchurch, New Zealand, the base for American activities in Antarctica, for autopsy.


Once in New Zealand, a post mortem established that Rodney Marks had died from methanol poisoning.


Rodney Marks had recently entered a new relationship, had nearly completed important academic work and had no financial problems.


Rodney Marks had promptly sought treatment for an illness that confused him, and there was no reason to suspect suicidal intent.


DSS Wormald stated regarding the NSF conclusion that Rodney Marks' death was from natural causes: "We wanted the results of [the NSF] internal investigation and to get in contact with people who were there to ask them some questions," said Wormald.


Rodney Marks' father thanked the New Zealand police, who he said faced an "arduous task of dealing with people that quite obviously don't want to deal with them".


The cause of the fatal methanol poisoning has never been determined, and the Rodney Marks family has given up hope of learning what happened.