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Research stations in Antarctica


Research stations in Antarctica

Map shows the location of permanent Antarctic research stations
Countries that have one or more stations in Antarctica

A number of governments maintain permanent research stations in Antarctica and these bases are widely distributed. Unlike the bases set up in the Arctic (see Drifting ice station), the research stations of the Antarctic are constructed either on rock or on ice that is (for practical purposes) fixed in place.

Many of the stations are staffed around the year. A total of 30 countries (as of October 2006), all signatories to the Antarctic Treaty, operate seasonal (summer) and year-round research stations on the continent. The population of people performing and supporting scientific research on the continent and nearby islands varies from approximately 4,000 during the summer season to 1,000 during winter (June).[1] In addition to these permanent stations, approximately 30 field camps are established each summer to support specific projects.[2]


  • History 1
    • First base 1.1
    • WWII and postwar expansion 1.2
  • Research stations 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


First base

"Omond House", the first permanent base, built in 1903 by the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition

During the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration in the early 20th century, the first bases on the continent were established. In 1903, Dr William S. Bruce's Scottish National Antarctic Expedition set off to Antarctica, with one of its aims to establish a meteorological station in the area.

After the expedition failed to find land, Bruce decided to head back to the South Orkneys and find an anchorage there.[3] The islands were well-situated as a site for a meteorological station, and their relative proximity to the South American mainland allowed a permanent station to be established.[4] Bruce instituted a comprehensive programme of work, involving meteorological readings, trawling for marine samples, botanical excursions, and the collection of biological and geological specimens.[3]

The major task completed during this time was the construction of a stone building, christened "Omond House".[5] This was to act as living accommodation for the parties that would remain on Laurie Island to operate the proposed meteorological laboratory. The building was constructed from local materials using the dry stone method, with a roof improvised from wood and canvas sheeting. The completed house was 20 feet by 20 feet square (6m × 6m), with two windows, fitted as quarters for six people. Rudmose Brown wrote: "Considering that we had no mortar and no masons' tools it is a wonderfully fine house and very lasting. I should think it will be standing a century hence ..."[6]

Bruce later offered to Argentina the transfer of the station and instruments on the condition that the government committed itself to the continuation of the scientific mission.[7] Bruce informed the British officer William Haggard of his intentions in December 1903, and Haggard ratified the terms of Bruce proposition.[8]

The Scotia sailed back for Laurie Island on 14 January 1904 carrying on board Argentinean officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, National Meteorological Office, Ministry of Livestock and National Postal and Telegraphs Office. In 1906, Argentina communicated to the international community the establishment of a permanent base on South Orkney Islands.

WWII and postwar expansion

Little happened for the following forty years until the Second World War, when the British launched Operation Tabarin in 1943, to establish a presence on the continent. The chief reason was to establish solid British claims to various uninhabited islands and parts of Antarctica, reinforced by Argentine sympathies toward Germany.

View of Chile's Captain Arturo Prat Base, established in 1947

Prior to the start of the war, German aircraft had dropped markers with swastikas across Queen Maud Land in an attempt to create a territorial claim, see New Swabia.[9] Led by Lieutenant James Marr, the 14-strong team left the Falkland Islands in two ships, HMS William Scoresby (a minesweeping trawler) and Fitzroy, on Saturday January 29, 1944. Marr had accompanied the British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton on his final Antarctic expedition in 1921 - 1922.

Bases were established during February near the abandoned Norwegian whaling station on Deception Island, where the Union Flag was hoisted in place of Argentine flags, and at Port Lockroy (on February 11) on the coast of Graham Land. A further base was founded at Hope Bay on February 13, 1945, after a failed attempt to unload stores on February 7, 1944. These bases were the first ever to be constructed on the mainland Antarctica.[10]

The Operation provoked a massive expansion in international activity after the war. Chile organized its First Chilean Antarctic Expedition in 1947–48. Among other accomplishments, it brought the Chilean president Gabriel González Videla to personally inaugurate one of its bases, thereby becoming the first head of state to set foot on the continent.[11] Signy Research Station (UK) was established in 1947, Australia's Mawson Station in 1954, Dumont d'Urville Station was the first French station in 1956. In the same year McMurdo Station was built by the United States and the Mirny Station was established by the Soviet Union.

Research stations

Base Open Countries Established Operator Situation Coordinates Time zone
Aboa Summer Finland 1989 Finnish Antarctic Research Program Queen Maud Land
Almirante Brown Antarctic Base Summer Argentina 1951 Argentine Antarctic Institute Antarctic Peninsula iUTC−3
Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station Permanent United States 1957 United States Antarctic Program Geographical South Pole xUTC+12*
Artigas Base Permanent Uruguay 1984 Uruguayan Antarctic Institute King George Island iUTC−3
Asuka Station Summer Japan 1985 National Institute of Polar Research
unmanned observation
Queen Maud Land
Belgrano II Permanent Argentina 1979 Argentine Antarctic Institute Coats Land iUTC−3
Bellingshausen Station Permanent Russia 1968 Russian Antarctic Expedition King George Island
Bernardo O'Higgins Station Permanent Chile
Chilean Army Logistics
German Aerospace Center
Antarctic Peninsula hUTC−3
Bharati Permanent India 2012 Indian Antarctic Program Larsemann Hills
Byrd Station Summer United States 1957 United States Antarctic Program Marie Byrd Land
Captain Arturo Prat Base Permanent Chile 1947 Chilean Navy Greenwich Island hUTC−3
Casey Station Permanent Australia 1957 Australian Antarctic Division Vincennes Bay tUTC+8
Comandante Ferraz Antarctic Station Permanent Brazil 1984 Brazilian Antarctic Program King George Island iUTC−3
Concordia Station Permanent Italy
2005 Concordia Station is a joint French-Italian research facility, managed by PNRA (National Antarctic Research Program of Italy) and IPEV (Institut Polaire Français Paul Émile Victor)

research topics: human biology, geomagnetic observations, geodesy, glaciology, meteorological observations, astronomy, seismology and environmental monitoring [12][13][14][15]
Dome C, Antarctic Plateau sUTC+10
Dakshin Gangotri Permanent India 1983 Indian Antarctic Program Dakshin Gangotri Glacier near Schirmacher Oasis
Davis Station Permanent Australia 1957 Australian Antarctic Division Princess Elizabeth Land sUTC+7
Dome Fuji Station Summer Japan 1995 National Institute of Polar Research Queen Maud Land
Druzhnaya 4 Summer Russia 1987-1991
(re-opening in 1995)
Russian Antarctic Expedition Princess Elizabeth Land
Dumont d'Urville Station Permanent France 1956 IPEV (Institut Polaire Français Paul Émile Victor) Adélie Land vUTC+10
Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva and Villa Las Estrellas Permanent Chile 1969 Chilean Air Force King George Island hUTC−3
Esperanza Base Permanent Argentina 1975 Argentine Antarctic Institute Hope Bay iUTC−3
Gabriel de Castilla Station Summer Spain 1989 CSIC
Marine biology [16]
Deception Island
Gonzalez Videla Station Summer Chile 1951 Chilean Air Force Paradise Bay, Water Boat Point.
Great Wall Station Permanent China 1985 Polar Research Institute of China King George Island
Halley Research Station Permanent United Kingdom 1956 British Antarctic Survey [17] Brunt Ice Shelf
Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station Permanent Poland 1977 Polish Academy of Sciences King George Island
Jang Bogo Station Permanent South Korea 2014 Korea Antarctic Research Program Terra Nova Bay UTC+11
Jinnah Antarctic Station Summer Pakistan 1991 Pakistan Antarctic Programme Sør Rondane Mountains, Queen Maud Land
Juan Carlos I Station Summer Spain 1988 CSIC
Laboratory, investigation and meteorogical station.[18]
South Bay, Livingston Island
Jubany Permanent Argentina 1953 Argentine Antarctic Institute King George Island iUTC−3
King Sejong Station Permanent South Korea 1988 Korea Antarctic Research Program King George Island UTC−3
Kohnen Station Summer Germany 2001 Alfred Wegener Institute Queen Maud Land
Kunlun Station Summer China 2009 Polar Research Institute of China Dome A
Law-Racoviță Station Permanent Romania 1986 Romanian Polar Research Institute Larsemann Hills, Princess Elizabeth Land
Leningradskaya Station Summer Russia 1971-1991
(re-opening in 2007-2008)
Russian Antarctic Expedition Oates Coast, Victoria Land
Machu Picchu Research Station Summer Peru 1989 Peruvian Antarctic Institute (INANPE) [19] King George Island
Maitri Station Permanent India 1989 Indian Antarctic Program Schirmacher Oasis
Maldonado Base Summer Ecuador 1990 Ecuadorian Antarctic Institute Greenwich Island
Marambio Base Permanent Argentina 1969 Argentine Antarctic Institute Seymour-Marambio Island iUTC−3
Mario Zucchelli Station Permanent Italy 1986 National Antarctic Research Program (PNRA)
with the collaboration of ENEA and CNR

research topics: offshore marine biology, terrestrial biology, oceanography, geomagnetic observations, geodesy, onshore geology, glaciology, meteorological observations, ionospheric/auroral observations, cosmic ray observations, seismology and environmental monitoring [20][21][22]
Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea xUTC+12
Mawson Station Permanent Australia 1954 Australian Antarctic Division Mac Robertson Land rUTC+6
McMurdo Station Permanent United States 1956 United States Antarctic Program Ross Island xUTC+12*
Mendel Polar Station Summer Czech Republic 2006 Masaryk University
biological, geological and climate research
James Ross Island
Mirny Station Permanent Russia 1956 Russian Antarctic Expedition
glaciology, seismology, meteorology, polar lights, cosmic radiation, and marine biology
Davis Sea
Mizuho Station Summer Japan 1970 National Institute of Polar Research
Transshipment station
Molodyozhnaya Station Summer Russia
(re-opening in 2007-2008)
Russian Antarctic Expedition
Meteorology [23]
Neumayer-Station III Permanent Germany 2009 Alfred Wegener Institute Atka Bay lUTC
Novolazarevskaya Station Permanent Russia 1961 Russian Antarctic Expedition Queen Maud Land
Orcadas Base Permanent Argentina 1904 Argentine Antarctic Institute, Argentine Navy Laurie Island, South Orkney Islands iUTC−3
Palmer Station Permanent United States 1968 United States Antarctic Program
Science labs, a dock and a helicopter pad.
Anvers Island hUTC−3
Princess Elisabeth Base Permanent Belgium 2007 Belgium Polar Secretariat
Energy-passive research station.
Queen Maud Land
Professor Julio Escudero Base Permanent Chile 1994 Chilean Antarctic Institute King George Island hUTC−3
Progress Station Summer Russia 1988 Russian Antarctic Expedition Prydz Bay
Rothera Research Station Permanent United Kingdom 1975 British Antarctic Survey Adelaide Island
Russkaya Station Summer Russia 1980-1990
(re-opening in 2007-2008)
Russian Antarctic Expedition Marie Byrd Land fUTC−6[24]
San Martín Base Permanent Argentina 1951 Argentine Antarctic Institute Barry Island iUTC−3
SANAE IV (South African National Antarctic Expedition) Permanent South Africa 1962
South African National Antarctic Programme Vesleskarvet in Queen Maud Land iUTC+2
St. Kliment Ohridski Base Permanent Bulgaria 1988 Bulgarian Antarctic Institute
Biological research, laboratorial and meteorological measurements. First Eastern Orthodox chapel, St. Ivan Rilski
Emona Anchorage, Livingston Island
Scott Base Permanent New Zealand 1957 Antarctica New Zealand
Antarctic physical environments, Southern Ocean and Antarctic ecosystems.
Ross Island xUTC+12
Showa Station Permanent Japan 1957 National Institute of Polar Research East Ongul Island oUTC+3
Signy Research Station Summer (Permanent 1947-1995) United Kingdom 1947 British Antarctic Survey Signy Island, South Orkney Islands
Svea Research Station Summer Sweden 1988 Swedish Polar Research Secretariat Queen Maud Land
Taishan Station[25] Summer China 2014 Polar Research Institute of China Princess Elizabeth Land
Tor Station Summer Norway 1993 Norwegian Polar Institute Queen Maud Land
Troll Station Permanent Norway 1990 Norwegian Polar Institute Queen Maud Land
WAIS Divide Camp Summer United States 2005 United States Antarctic Program
Collect a deep ice core
West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Wasa Research Station Summer Sweden 1989 Swedish Polar Research Secretariat Queen Maud Land
Vernadsky Research Base Permanent Ukraine 1994 National Antarctic Scientific Center Galindez Island iUTC−3
Vostok Station Permanent Russia 1957 Russian Antarctic Expedition Antarctic Ice Sheet rUTC+6
Zhongshan (Sun Yat-Sen) Station Permanent China 1989 Polar Research Institute of China Larsemann Hills in Prydz Bay
* Observes daylight saving time.

See also


  1. ^  
  2. ^ 4.0 Antarctica - Past and Present
  3. ^ a b Rudmose Brown, R. N.; Pirie, J. H.; Mossman, R. C. (2002). The Voyage of the Scotia. Edinburgh: Mercat Press. pp. 34–57.  
  4. ^ Rudmose Brown, p. 57.
  5. ^ 1902–04: The Antarctic"Scotia"Voyage of the . Glasgow Digital Library. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  6. ^ Speak, Peter (2003). William Speirs Bruce: Polar Explorer and Scottish Nationalist. Edinburgh: NMS Publishing. p. 85.  
  7. ^ Escude, Carlos; Cisneros, Andres. "Historia General de las Relaciones Exteriores de la Republica Argentina" (in Spanish). Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ Moneta, Jose Manuel (1954). Cuatro Años en las Orcadas del Sur (9th ed.). Ediciones Peuser. 
  9. ^ "HMS Carnarvon Castle 1943". 
  10. ^ "Spirit of Scott 2012: Britain’s polar interests lie under a cloud". The Daily Telegraph. 
  11. ^ Antarctica and the Arctic: the complete encyclopedia, Volume 1, by David McGonigal, Lynn Woodworth, page 98
  12. ^ Polarnet. "Concordia Station (English Text - Polar Network-Cnr)". 
  13. ^ Concordia Station (English Text pdf - PNRA)
  14. ^ "Chronicles from Concordia Station (English Text - ESA)". Chronicles from Concordia. 
  15. ^ Concordia Station structure (IPEV)
  16. ^ BAE Gabriel de Castilla
  17. ^ "Halley VI Antarctic Research Station". 
  18. ^ SAS Juan Carlos I
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ Polarnet. "Mario Zucchelli Station on Polar Network - Cnr". 
  21. ^ A window on Antarctica (Italiantartide)
  22. ^ Mario Zucchelli Station on National Antarctic Programs
  23. ^
  24. ^ "French Polar Team - R1 Russkaya Station / Antarctica". 
  25. ^ "中国正式建成南极泰山科考站". 

External links

  • Research stations
  • COMNAP Antarctic Facilities (Updated February 2014 - Excel File)
  • COMNAP Antarctic Facilities Map (Archived September 15, 2009 at the Wayback Machine)
  • Antarctic Exploration Timeline, animated map of Antarctic exploration and settlement, showing where and when Antarctic research stations were established
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