Bunger Hills

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Bunger Hills
Location of Bunger Hills

Bunger Hills, also known as Bunger Lakes or Bunger Oasis , is a coastal range on the Knox Coast in Wilkes Land in Antarctica, consisting of a group of moderately low, rounded coastal hills, overlain by morainic drift and notably ice free throughout the year, lying south of the Highjump Archipelago. [1] The reasoning behind the minute amount of ice in the area is still relatively unknown and remains under intense debate amongst scientists today.


The Bunger Hills are located with its center at 66°17′S100°47′E / 66.283°S 100.783°E / -66.283; 100.783 , stretching from 65°58'S to 66°20'S and from 100°20'E to 101°28'E. The Bunger Hills are marked by numerous melt ponds and are nearly bisected by an east-west trending Algae Lake (also known as Lake Figurnoye). Mapped from air photos taken by the United States Navy Operation Highjump (1946-1947) and named by the United States Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) for Lieutenant Commander David E. Bunger, United States Navy, plane commander of one of the three USN OpHjp aircraft which engaged in photographic missions along most of the coastal area between 14 E and 164 E. David E. Bunger and members of his crew landed their airplane on an unfrozen lake here in February 1947.

The Bunger Hills are surrounded by glaciers. On the southeast the Bunger Hills is bordered by the steep slopes of the Antarctic ice sheet, on the south and west by outlet glaciers, and on the north by Shackleton Ice Shelf, which separates the area from the open sea. The ice-free area measures 450 km2 (174 sq mi), according to some sources even 750 or 942 km2 (290 or 364 sq mi) (though these latter values include a marine area not covered by continental ice or the Shackleton Ice Shelf). The topography is characterized by rugged hills, and there are many freshwater and salt lakes. The largest and deepest lake, Algae Lake (Lake Figurnoye) is 25 km (16 mi) long and up to 137 metres (449 ft) deep. The leader of Operation Highjump, Admiral Richard E. Byrd stated that the Bunger Hills was ‘…one of the most remarkable regions on earth. An island suitable for life had been found in a universe of death.’ [2]

Cape Hordern is an ice-free cape, overlain by morainic drift, at the western end of the Bunger Hills. It was first observed by members of the western party of the Australian Antarctic Expedition (1911-1914), who were unable to reach it due to heavy crevassing on the Denman and Scott Glaciers.


The Soviet Union built a scientific station by the name of Oazis (Оазис) in the center of the area at 66°16′29″S100°44′49″E / 66.27472°S 100.74694°E / -66.27472; 100.74694 , starting October 15, 1956, with two buildings for eight people. The station was handed over to Poland on January 23, 1959, and was renamed A. B. Dobrowolski Station (named after Antoni Dobrowolski). It continued to be occupied for a few weeks only thereafter. On February 22, 1979 (with preparations starting February 18) the station was reactivated for a short time, but an overwintering attempt failed, and the occupants had to be evacuated to Mirny Station (350 km or 220 mi to the west) on March 17.[ citation needed ]

The concrete pillar erected by the First Polish Antarctic Expedition at Dobrowolski Station in January 1959 for gravity measurements, and the magnetic observatory at the station with plaque in memory of the opening of Oazis Station in 1956, are recognized as Antarctic Historic Sites. [3]

The Soviet Union became interested in the Bunger Hills again in the late 1980s, and built a new station - Oazis 2 - a few hundred metres to the west of Dobrowolski. The station was used for summer visits up to the mid-1990s. [ citation needed ]

About 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) west-northwest of Dobrowolski, at 66°15′S100°36′E / 66.250°S 100.600°E / -66.250; 100.600 , Australia has maintained the summer-only station Edgeworth David Base, named after Edgeworth David, since 1986.[ citation needed ]

See also

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Booth Peninsula is a rocky peninsula, 4 nautical miles (7 km) long and 1 nautical mile (2 km) wide, of Antarctica, which projects west from the coast 3 nautical miles (6 km) southwest of Remenchus Glacier. It was mapped from aerial photographs taken by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump, 1946–47, and named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names for George H. Booth, an air crewman on the Operation Highjump seaplane commanded by D.E. Bunger which landed in this area and obtained aerial and ground photographs of this ice-free region.

Dufek Coast

The Dufek Coast is that portion of the coast along the southwest margin of the Ross Ice Shelf between Airdrop Peak on the east side of the Beardmore Glacier and Morris Peak on the east side of Liv Glacier. It was named by the New Zealand Antarctic Place-Names Committee in 1961 after Rear Admiral George J. Dufek, United States Navy, who served under Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd with the United States Antarctic Service, 1939–41, and as commander of the Eastern Task Force of U.S. Navy Operation Highjump, 1946–47. He was Commander of U.S. Naval Support Force Antarctica, 1954–59, a period in which the following American science stations were established: McMurdo Station, Little America V, Byrd Station, South Pole Station, Wilkes Station, Hallett Station and Ellsworth Station. United States Navy ships, aircraft, and personnel under his command provided broad logistical support to research and survey operations, including aerial photographic missions to virtually all sectors of Antarctica. On October 31, 1956, Dufek in the ski-equipped R4D Skytrain aircraft Que Sera Sera, flew from McMurdo Sound via Beardmore Glacier to make the first airplane landing at the South Pole.

Edisto Ice Tongue is an ice tongue along the northwest margin of the Bunger Hills where it occupies the southwestern portion of Edisto Channel, in the Highjump Archipelago. The ice tongue is a seaward extension of the flow of Apfel Glacier as well as part of the main flow of Scott Glacier. It was mapped from air photos taken by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump, 1946–47, and was named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names in association with Edisto Channel.

The Highjump Archipelago is a group of rocky islands, rocks and ice rises in Antarctica, about 93 kilometres (50 nmi) long and from 9 to 28 kilometres wide, lying generally north of the Bunger Hills and extending from the Taylor Islands, close northwest of Cape Hordern, to a prominent group of ice rises which terminate close west of Cape Elliott. It was delineated from aerial photographs taken by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump 1946–47 and so named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names. The codeword "highjump" was used for identifying the U.S. Navy Task Force 68, 1946–47. This task force was divided into three groups which completed photographic flights covering approximately 70 per cent of the coastal areas of Antarctica, excluding the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as significant portions of the interior.

Cape Henderson is an ice-free cape, overlain by morainic drift, marking the northwest end of the Bunger Hills in Antarctica. It was mapped from air photos taken by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump in February 1947, and was named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names for the USS Henderson (DD-785), the destroyer escort of the western task group of Operation Highjump, Task Force 68, 1946–47.

Smith Lake is a lake, 1 nautical mile (1.9 km) long, in the Bunger Hills, occupying the east half of the peninsula between Booth and Countess Peninsulas. First mapped from air photos taken by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump, 1946–47. The name "Smith Ridge" was given to the peninsula in 1956 by Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) but was later dropped. The lake has instead been named for Kenneth R. Smith, air crewman on the U.S. Navy Operation Highjump seaplane commanded by D.E. Bunger which landed in the area and obtained air and ground photos in February 1947.

A. B. Dobrowolski Polar Station Antarctic base

A.B. Dobrowolski Polar Station is a occasionally active Polish polar research station in Antarctica. It is located at the edge of the Algae Lake, Bunger Hills region in the Wilkes Land and was originally constructed by the Soviet Union. It is one of the two Polish stations in Antarctica, the other being the Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station.


  1. "Highjump Archipelago". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey.
  2. Byrd, R.E. (1947) Our navy explores Antarctica. National Geographic Magazine, 92: 429-522.
  3. http://www.antarctic-circle.org/historicsites.htm

Further reading

Coordinates: 66°17′0″S100°47′0″E / 66.28333°S 100.78333°E / -66.28333; 100.78333