Guo Kun

Last updated

Guo Kun (Chinese :郭琨; September 1935 – 3 April 2019) was a Chinese polar explorer. He led China's first expedition to Antarctica in 1984–1985 and participated in seven Antarctic expeditions in total. He led the construction of China's first two Antarctic bases, the Great Wall Station in 1985 and the Zhongshan Station in 1989, and served as Director of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration.

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Antarctica Polar continent in the Earths southern hemisphere

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent. For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. At 0.00008 people per square kilometre, it is by far the least densely populated continent. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Great Wall Station (Antarctica) Antarctic base in China

The Great Wall Station was the first Chinese research station in Antarctica and opened on 20 February 1985. It lies on the Fildes Peninsula on King George Island, and is about 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) from the Chilean Frei Montalva Station, and 960 kilometres (600 mi) from Cape Horn. The station is sited on ice-free rock, about 10 metres (33 ft) above sea level.


Early life and career

Guo was born in September 1935 [1] in Laishui County, Hebei, Republic of China. After graduating from the Harbin Institute of Military Technology in 1962, he initially worked in meteorology and atmospheric sounding. In 1976, he was transferred to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) and later joined the newly established Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration under the SOA. [2]

Laishui County County in Hebei, Peoples Republic of China

Laishui County is a county in central Hebei province, China, bordering the Municipality of Beijing to the north and in the basin of the Juma River. It is under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Baoding and contains its northernmost point; it has a population of 340,000 residing in an area of 1,666 km2 (643 sq mi). It is served by China National Highway 112 and G5 Beijing–Kunming Expressway.

Hebei Province

Hebei is a province of China in the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Zhili Province or Chihli Province. Its one-character abbreviation is "冀" (Jì), named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Yellow River.

Meteorology Interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere focusing on weather forecasting

Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting. The study of meteorology dates back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw modest progress in the field after weather observation networks were formed across broad regions. Prior attempts at prediction of weather depended on historical data. It was not until after the elucidation of the laws of physics and more particularly, the development of the computer, allowing for the automated solution of a great many equations that model the weather, in the latter half of the 20th century that significant breakthroughs in weather forecasting were achieved. An important domain of weather forecasting is marine weather forecasting as it relates to maritime and coastal safety, in which weather effects also include atmospheric interactions with large bodies of water.

First Antarctic expedition and the Great Wall Station

The Great Wall Station in 2011 Antarctic Great Wall Station.JPG
The Great Wall Station in 2011

In 1984, China organized its first scientific expedition to Antarctica, and Guo was named the leader of the 591-member expedition team. The team departed Shanghai on 20 November 1984 on two ships, the Xiang Yang Hong 10 and the J121, and arrived at King George Island off the coast of Antarctica on 30 December. [3] A main part of their mission was to construct China's first Antarctic base, the Great Wall Station. As the Xiang Yang Hong 10 was not an icebreaker, the team had to leave before the end of the Antarctic summer and had only a short window of opportunity to complete their mission. [3] Under Guo's supervision, the team worked 16 to 17 hours a day in often severe weather conditions, and completed the construction in only 40 days. The station was opened on 14 February 1985. [3] [4]

Shanghai Municipality in Peoples Republic of China

Shanghai is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the central government of the People's Republic of China, the largest city in China by population, and the largest city proper in the world, with a population of 26.3 million as of 2019. It is a global financial center and transport hub, with the world's busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta, it sits on the south edge of the estuary of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the Eastern China coast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the south, east and west, and is bound to the east by the East China Sea.

King George Island (South Shetland Islands) island of the South Shetland Islands

King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands, lying 120 km off the coast of Antarctica in the Southern Ocean. The island was named after King George III.

Icebreaker Special-purpose ship or boat capable of maneuvering through ice-covered water

An icebreaker is a special-purpose ship or boat designed to move and navigate through ice-covered waters, and provide safe waterways for other boats and ships. Although the term usually refers to ice-breaking ships, it may also refer to smaller vessels, such as the icebreaking boats that were once used on the canals of the United Kingdom.

In 2012, the Antarctic Treaty System designated two sites at the Great Wall Station erected by Guo's team as Historic Sites and Monuments in Antarctica: the station's No. 1 Building and a monolith with the Chinese inscription: "Great Wall Station, First Chinese Antarctic Research Expedition, 20 February 1985". [5]

Antarctic Treaty System international treaties concerning the Antarctica

The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively known as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude. The treaty entered into force in 1961 and currently has 54 parties. The treaty sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation, and bans military activity on the continent. The treaty was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. Since September 2004, the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat headquarters has been located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A Historic Site or Monument (HSM) is a protected location of historic interest on the continent of Antarctica, or on its adjacent islands. The list of historic sites was first drawn up in 1972, and has since expanded to cover 92 sites, with the most recent listed in 2015. Five sites have been removed from the list for various reasons.

Zhongshan Station

The Zhongshan Station in 2007 Zhong shan-ant hg.jpg
The Zhongshan Station in 2007

Four years later, Guo led another expedition to Antarctica, with the mission to establish China's second base. The team set out from Qingdao in November 1988 on the ship Jidi. After reaching Prydz Bay in Antarctica, the ship encountered a major icefall in the night of 14 January 1989. [3] [4] She missed being directly hit by ice by just two or three meters, and became trapped by icebergs for seven days. Many team members wrote their wills and were ready to die. Luckily, the icebergs shifted on the seventh day and temporarily created a 30-meter-wide opening, and Guo's team seized the opportunity to escape from the trap. The opening lasted for just two hours before closing again. [3] The team proceeded to construct the Zhongshan Station at Prydz Bay in only 28 days, which opened on 26 February 1989. [3] [4]

Qingdao Prefecture-level and Sub-provincial city in Shandong, Peoples Republic of China

Qingdao is a major city in the east of Shandong Province on China's Yellow Sea coast. It is also a major nodal city of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative that connects Asia with Europe. It has the highest GDP of any city in the province. Administered at the sub-provincial level, Qingdao has jurisdiction over six districts and four county-level cities. As of 2014, Qingdao had a population of 9,046,200 with an urban population of 6,188,100. Lying across the Shandong Peninsula and looking out to the Yellow Sea, it borders Yantai to the northeast, Weifang to the west and Rizhao to the southwest.

Prydz Bay bay

Prydz Bay is a deep embayment of Antarctica between the Lars Christensen Coast and Ingrid Christensen Coast. The Bay is at the downstream end of a giant glacial drainage systems that originates in the East Antarctic interior. The Lambert Glacier flows from Lambert Graben into the Amery Ice Shelf on the south-west side of Prydz Bay. Other major glaciers drain into the southern end of the Amery Ice Shelf at 73° S where the marine part of the system starts at the modern grounding zone.


An icefall is a portion of certain glaciers characterized by rapid flow and a chaotic crevassed surface. The term icefall is formed by analogy with the word waterfall, a similar, but much higher speed, phenomenon. When ice movement is faster than elsewhere, because the glacier bed steepens or narrows, the flow cannot be accommodated by plastic deformation and the ice fractures, forming crevasses. Where two fractures meet, seracs can be formed. When the movement of the ice slows down, the crevasses can coalesce, resulting in the surface of the glacier becoming smoother.

Later career

Guo spent most of his career planning for and participating in Antarctic expeditions, seven in total. He also helped equip the research vessels Jidi and Xue Long, served as Director of the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, and attended international conferences on polar research. [3]

MV <i>Xue Long</i> Chinese icebreaking research vessel

Xue Long is a Chinese icebreaking research vessel. Built in 1993 at Kherson Shipyard in Ukraine, she was converted from an Arctic cargo ship to a polar research and re-supply vessel by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding of Shanghai by the mid-90s. The vessel was extensively upgraded in 2007 and 2013.

The Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) is a Beijing-based agency of the People's Republic of China's State Oceanic Administration (SOA). Established in 1981, it organizes China's scientific program for both the Arctic and Antarctic, and it provides logistic support to Antarctic expeditions. There are several; divisions, including General Affairs, Operation & Logistics, Science Programs, International Cooperation, representation in the Chinese Embassy in Chile, and a Winter Training Base. The director is Qu Tanzhou.

Health and death

In his old age Guo lost the ability to walk, likely because of the extended amount of time he had spent under extreme polar conditions. He died on 3 April 2019 in Beijing, at the age of 83. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Dome A an ice dome on the Antarctic Plateau

Dome A or Dome Argus is the loftiest ice dome on the Antarctic Plateau, located 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) inland. It is thought to be the coldest naturally occurring place on Earth; with temperatures believed to reach −90 °C (−130 °F) to −98 °C (−144 °F). It is the highest ice feature in Antarctica, consisting of an ice dome or eminence of 4,093 metres' elevation above sea level. It is located near the center of East Antarctica, approximately midway between the enormous head of Lambert Glacier and the geographic South Pole, within the Australian claim.

Research stations in Antarctica research station in Antarctica

A number of governments have set up permanent research stations in Antarctica and these bases are widely distributed. Unlike the drifting ice stations set up in the Arctic, the research stations of the Antarctic are constructed either on rock or on ice that is fixed in place.

Law-Racoviță Station Antarctic base

Law-Racoviță Station is the first Romanian station for research and exploration in Antarctica, named after the Romanian explorer Emil Racoviță and inaugurated on January 13, 2006 at the location of a station constructed in 1986 by Australia and donated to Romania. The station may be found in Princess Elizabeth Land, in the Larsemann Hills, 2 kilometers away from China's Antarctic Zhongshan Station.

The Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) is the main Chinese research institute for the study of the Earth's polar regions. It is based in Shanghai, China.

Yellow River Station (Arctic)

The Arctic Yellow River Station was established by the Polar Research Institute of China in Ny-Ålesund, on Svalbard, in 2003.

Zhongshan Station (Antarctica) Antarctic base in China

Zhongshan Station is the second Chinese research station in Antarctica and was opened on February 26, 1989.

Kunlun Station (Antarctica) Antarctic base in East Antarctica, China

Kunlun Station is the southernmost of four Chinese research stations in Antarctica. When it is occupied during the summer, it is the second-southernmost research base in Antarctica, behind only the American Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station at the geographical South Pole. When Kunlun is not in operation, the year-round Russian Vostok Station is the second-southernmost base in Antarctica.

Taishan Station (Antarctica) Antarctic base in China

Taishan Station is the fourth of four Chinese research stations in Antarctica.

Guo Hao is a Chinese football player who currently plays for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda.

Liu Junwei is a Chinese football manager and former football player.

Chen Gang is a former Chinese politician. Best known for his term in Beijing beginning in 2006, Chen played a prominent role in the construction of the venues of the Beijing Olympics and subsequent urban development projects. Elevated to the municipal standing committee in 2012, Chen seemed destined for higher office. However, he was abruptly moved to the North-South Water Transfer project in 2017. He was disgraced in 2019 and currently under investigation for graft.

Over one hundred officials of provincial-ministerial level and above have been implicated by the anti-corruption campaign in China, which began after the 18th Party Congress in 2012. The number of officials implicated below the provincial level are much higher. The tables on this list includes only officials for which a case has been initiated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Liu Yan (scientist) Chinese Antarctic researcher

Liu Yan is a Chinese Antarctic researcher best known for her work on iceberg calving. She is an Associate Professor of geography in the College of Global Change and Earth System Science (GCESS) and Polar Research Institute, Beijing Normal University.

Wei Lijie (scientist)

Wei Lijie is a Chinese Antarctic researcher, best known for her work on the paleontology and stratigraphy of Tibet and the Antarctic.

Guo Tianyu is a Chinese footballer who currently plays for Wuhan Zall in the Chinese Super League.

Wu Tianjun is a former Chinese politician, and the CPC Secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of Henan. He was dismissed from his position in November 2016 for investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Guo Quanbo is a Chinese footballer who currently plays for Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan.

E Dongchen was a Chinese earth scientist and polar explorer, acclaimed as the "father of polar surveying and mapping" in China. He participated in 11 polar expeditions, including the first Chinese expeditions to Antarctica and the North Pole. He was a professor and doctoral advisor at Wuhan University, and was a recipient of the Ho Leung Ho Lee Prize in Earth Sciences.


  1. Guo, Kun (2011). 首闯南极的日子—中国南极考察队长日记. Beijing: China Ocean Publishing. ISBN   9787502779764. OCLC   735582563.
  2. "南极长城站首任站长郭琨离世享年84岁". Sohu (in Chinese). 2019-04-06. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "南极长城站首任站长逝世 曾发誓"拼命也要建好站"". Xinhua. 2019-04-06. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  4. 1 2 3 Liu Shiyao 刘诗瑶 (2019-04-10). "追记中国首次南极考察队长郭琨:一辈子惦记那片冰原". The Paper. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  5. "List of Historic Sites and Monuments approved by the ATCM (2012)" (PDF). Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. 2012. Retrieved 2019-04-13.