Mawson Station

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Mawson Station
Mawson from Welch Island Dec 26 2008 pjs.jpg
Mawson Station looking toward the David Range
Antarctica relief location map.jpg
Red pog.svg
Mawson Station
Location of Mawson Station in Antarctica
Coordinates: 67°36′10″S62°52′25″E / 67.602746°S 62.873726°E / -67.602746; 62.873726 Coordinates: 67°36′10″S62°52′25″E / 67.602746°S 62.873726°E / -67.602746; 62.873726
CountryFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Location in Antarctica Australian Antarctic Territory
Subdivision Holme Bay
Mac Robertson Land
East Antarctica
Administered by Australian Antarctic Division
Established13 February 1954 (1954-02-13)
Named for Sir Douglas Mawson
Elevation
[1]
15 m (49 ft)
Population
 (2017) [1]
  Summer
53
  Winter
15
Time zone UTC+5 (MAWT)
TypeAll-year round
PeriodAnnual
StatusOperational
FacilitiesFacilities include: [2]
  • Accommodation with private bedrooms and shared bathrooms
  • Large dining room (or mess)
  • Several communal sitting areas
  • A range of amenities including medical and laundry facilities
  • A theatrette
  • Library
  • Small spa and sauna
  • Climbing wall
  • Green Store
Website aad.gov.au

The Mawson Station, commonly called Mawson, is one of three permanent bases and research outposts in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Mawson lies in Holme Bay in Mac. Robertson Land, East Antarctica in the Australian Antarctic Territory, a territory claimed by Australia. Established in 1954, Mawson is Australia's oldest Antarctic station and the oldest continuously inhabited Antarctic station south of the Antarctic Circle. [3] It houses approximately 20 personnel over winter and up to 53 in summer. [1]

Contents

Mawson was named in honour of the Australian Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. [3] [4]

Mawson was listed on the Register of the National Estate in 2001 and listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List on 22 June 2004, reflecting the post-World War Two revival of Australia's scientific research and territorial interests in Antarctica. [5]

Purpose

Mawson Station is a base for scientific research programs including an underground cosmic ray detector, various long-term meteorological aeronomy and geomagnetic studies, as well as ongoing conservation biology studies, in particular of nearby Auster rookery, a breeding ground for emperor penguins and Adélie penguins. [6]

History

In 1946, the Minister for External Affairs, H.V. Evatt indicated his support for a proposal by Douglas Mawson for the establishment of a permanent Australian base in Antarctica. [7] It was another seven years before a suitable ship, the Kista Dan could be chartered to set up facilities on the southern continent.

The station site was chosen in 1953 by Phillip Law, the first director of the AAD, who drew aerial photographs taken during the U.S. Operation Highjump (OpHjp) of 1946-1947 to select the site for its large natural harbour (Horseshoe Harbour) and permanently exposed rock for building. [7] The station was built during 1954. Some of the small pre-fabricated huts used in the first years remain on the station, but these are overshadowed by large steel-framed modular buildings dating from a major rebuilding program that started in the late 1970s.

By 1959, the facilities at Mawson Station had expanded significantly. Personnel at that time included 6 scientists, 4 technicians, 2 pilots, 2 weather observers, and 10 others. Scientific disciplines represented included cartography, geology and geomagnetism, glaciology, seismology, ionospheric and auroral physics, meteorology, and physiology. Vehicles included 2 de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver aircraft, 3 Caterpillar D4 tractors, 1 TEA-20 Ferguson, and 1 Sno-Cat. [8]

Geography

Mawson Station is located at Holme Bay in Mac Robertson Land, East Antarctica, named in January 1930 by Sir Douglas Mawson during the first British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) voyage, aboard Discovery. It is in a region which Mawson proclaimed as British territory on several occasions in 1930 and 1931 (including at Proclamation Island, Scullin Monolith and Cape Bruce), and later became Australian Antarctic Territory.

Some notable geographic features in the region include the Framnes Mountains, which form the dramatic backdrop to Mawson Station. The Framnes Mountains were named in the 1930s by Norwegian explorers financed by the shipowner and whaling magnate Lars Christensen.

Climate

Mawson Station experiences a Polar climate:

Climate data for Mawson Station
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)10.6
(51.1)
8.0
(46.4)
4.0
(39.2)
0.0
(32.0)
0.4
(32.7)
0.7
(33.3)
5.0
(41.0)
6.7
(44.1)
−0.6
(30.9)
0.6
(33.1)
6.1
(43.0)
9.3
(48.7)
10.6
(51.1)
Average high °C (°F)2.5
(36.5)
−1.4
(29.5)
−7.2
(19.0)
−11.8
(10.8)
−13.5
(7.7)
−13.5
(7.7)
−15.0
(5.0)
−15.5
(4.1)
−14.2
(6.4)
−9.9
(14.2)
−2.6
(27.3)
2.0
(35.6)
−8.3
(17.1)
Average low °C (°F)−2.7
(27.1)
−7.3
(18.9)
−13.3
(8.1)
−17.4
(0.7)
−19.3
(−2.7)
−19.6
(−3.3)
−21.0
(−5.8)
−21.7
(−7.1)
−20.5
(−4.9)
−16.4
(2.5)
−8.8
(16.2)
−3.3
(26.1)
−14.3
(6.3)
Record low °C (°F)−10.0
(14.0)
−17.3
(0.9)
−26.3
(−15.3)
−33.3
(−27.9)
−34.5
(−30.1)
−34.0
(−29.2)
−36.0
(−32.8)
−35.9
(−32.6)
−35.8
(−32.4)
−29.0
(−20.2)
−20.0
(−4.0)
−11.7
(10.9)
−36.0
(−32.8)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 257.3220.4167.4114.049.60.018.693.0150.0235.6258.0272.81,836.7
Source: Bureau of Meteorology [9]

Research

During March and April 1960, an ANARE survey party from Mawson Station carried out a barometric mapping control traverse along the route of a 242 kilometres (150 mi) dog sledge journey from Cape Batterbee through the Napier Mountains to Martin Island in Edward VIII Bay. [10] The members of this survey party — led by Syd Kirkby — were the first people to set foot in the Napier Mountains. The highest peak of this small range — Mount Elkins — was identified and named at this time for Terence James Elkins. [11] [12] Many other terrain features were mapped, visited or named as a result of this expedition, including Armstrong Peak, [13] Bird Ridge, [14] Mount Griffiths, [15] Newman Nunataks, [16] Wilkinson Peaks, [17] and the Young Nunataks. [18]

In 2018, astronaut and academic Jay C. Buckey conducted research using virtual reality, at the Australian Antarctic Division’s Mawson Station, wherein the expeditioners used VR headsets to view Australian beach scenes, European nature scenes, and North American nature scenes of forests and urban environments, which were different from the isolation of the whiteness and silence of Antarctica. The research will inform psychological techniques to support long-duration spaceflight such as for astronauts going to Mars. [19]

Logistics

Mawson is 5,475 km (3,402 mi) from Hobart, the AAD's main supply hub for Antarctic operations, and 5,201 km (3,232 mi) from Fremantle. [20]

Communications

Mawson's infrastructure includes an ANARESAT satellite antenna Earth station for communication. [21]

Air transport

In early summer when sea ice conditions are most favourable, a ski landing area (SLA) is constructed adjacent to Mawson. As sea ice conditions progressively worsen over summer, operations are moved to Rumdoodle SLA, a field camp on the inland ice plateau 10 km from Mawson. [22]

Rumdoodle SLA has been in use since the 1950s, and the glacier surface requires annual inspection and preparation prior to use. [23] It is accessible from Mawson by Hägglunds ground vehicles. [22]

Sea transport

Mawson Station is accessible by sea for only a short period each austral summer, between February and March. It has a deep, sheltered natural harbour and is ice-free in February. [24] A direct voyage from Hobart to Mawson takes about 10—12 days, due to variable weather and sea-ice conditions. [24] The approach to Horseshoe Harbour is through the Mawson Corridor and the Entrance Shoal.

Between 1953 and 1987, Mawson was supplied by the ice-strengthened polar research vessels, including Kista Dan , Magga Dan , Thala Dan , and Nella Dan . This period came to an end when Nella Dan ran aground and sank at Macquarie Island on 3 December 1987. [25]

Wind power

Mawson is the only Antarctic station to use wind generators designed to take advantage of the fierce katabatic winds. Two 300 kW wind turbines were installed in 2003, but one failed in 2017. [26]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is a division of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. The Division undertakes science programs and research projects to contribute to an understanding of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. It conducts and supports collaborative research programs with other Australian and international organisations, such as the Bureau of Meteorology and Geoscience Australia, as well as administering and maintaining a presence in Australian Antarctic and sub-Antarctic territories.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Casey Station</span> Antarctic base in Australian Antarctic Territory

Casey Station, commonly called Casey, is one of three permanent stations and research outposts in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Casey lies on the northern side of the Bailey Peninsula overlooking Vincennes Bay on the Budd Coast of Wilkes Land in the Australian Antarctic Territory, a territory claimed by Australia. Casey is 3,880 kilometres (2,410 mi) due south of Perth, Western Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Davis Station</span> Antarctic base in Australian Antarctic Territory

Davis Station, commonly called Davis, is one of three permanent bases and research outposts in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Davis is situated on the coast of Cooperation Sea in Princess Elizabeth Land, Ingrid Christensen Coast in the Australian Antarctic Territory, a territory claimed by Australia. Davis lies in the Antarctic oasis, a remarkable ice free area known as the Vestfold Hills.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lambert Glacier</span> Major glacier in East Antarctica

Lambert Glacier is a major glacier in East Antarctica. At about 50 miles (80 km) wide, over 250 miles (400 km) long, and about 2,500 m deep, it is the world's largest glacier. It drains 8% of the Antarctic ice sheet to the east and south of the Prince Charles Mountains and flows northward to the Amery Ice Shelf. It flows in part of Lambert Graben and exits the continent at Prydz Bay.

The Napier Mountains are a group of close set peaks, the highest being Mount Elkins, at about 2,300 meters above sea level. This mountain range is located in Enderby Land, in the claimed Australian Antarctic Territory, East Antarctica.

The Scott Mountains are a large number of isolated peaks lying south of Amundsen Bay in Enderby Land of East Antarctica, Antarctica. Discovered on 13 January 1930 by the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) under Sir Douglas Mawson. He named the feature Scott Range after Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Royal Navy. The term mountains is considered more appropriate because of the isolation of its individual features.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Enderby Land</span> Projecting landmass of Antarctica

Enderby Land is a projecting landmass of Antarctica. Its shore extends from Shinnan Glacier at about 67°55′S44°38′E to William Scoresby Bay at 67°24′S59°34′E, approximately 124 of the earth's longitude. It was first documented in western and eastern literature in February 1831 by John Biscoe aboard the whaling brig Tula, and named after the Enderby Brothers of London, the ship's owners who encouraged their captains to combine exploration with sealing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Elkins</span>

Mount Elkins, also known as Jökelen is a dark, steep-sided mountain with three major peaks, the highest 2,300 meters (7,500 ft) above sea level, in the Napier Mountains of Enderby Land. Enderby Land is part of East Antarctica, and is claimed by Australia as part of the Australian Antarctic Territory. The mountain was named after Terence James Elkins, an ionospheric physicist with the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions at Mawson Station in 1960.

Newman Nunataks

Rippon Glacier is a small glacier located in Kemp Land, East Antarctica. It is close east of Seaton Glacier, flowing southward into Edward VIII Ice Shelf.

Wilma Glacier is the western of two glaciers entering the southern part of Edward VIII Ice Shelf in Kemp Land, East Antarctica. The second, eastern glacier is Robert Glacier.

Filson Nunatak is a small nunatak 6 nautical miles (11 km) east of Trost Peak in the eastern part of the Framnes Mountains, Mac. Robertson Land, Antarctica. It was photographed from Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) aircraft in 1958 and seen by an ANARE party in December 1962. It was named by the Antarctic Names Committee of Australia for R. Filson, a carpenter at Mawson Station in 1962, and a member of the party.

Foster Nunatak is a horseshoe shaped rock outcrop in the south part of the Manning Nunataks, on the east side of the Amery Ice Shelf, Antarctica. The Manning Nunataks were photographed by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump (1946–47) and Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) (1957). They were visited by the Soviet Antarctic Expedition in 1965 and ANARE in 1969. This nunatak was named by the Antarctic Names Committee of Australia for A.L. Foster, an electronics engineer at Mawson Station in 1970, and a member of an ANARE glaciological traverse party on the Amery Ice Shelf in January 1970.

Mitchell Nunatak is the central nunatak in a group of three nunataks in the northern part of the Manning Nunataks in Antarctica. The Manning Nunataks were photographed by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump in 1946–47, and by the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) in 1957. They were visited by the Soviet Antarctic Expedition in 1965 and by the ANARE Prince Charles Mountains survey party in 1969. This nunatak was named by the Antarctic Names Committee of Australia for R. Mitchell, a senior diesel mechanic at Mawson Station in 1969.

McCarthy Nunatak is a small nunatak, the top of which is almost at the same level as the surrounding ice plateau, about 5 nautical miles (9 km) southeast of Depot Peak, Mac. Robertson Land, Antarctica. It was discovered from Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) aircraft in 1970, and was named by the Antarctic Names Committee of Australia after I. McCarthy, a senior weather observer at Mawson Station in 1970, and a member of the ANARE Prince Charles Mountains survey party in 1971.

The Manning Nunataks are a group of nunataks in the eastern side of the southern part of the Amery Ice Shelf, Antarctica, about 20 nautical miles (37 km) north-northeast of Pickering Nunatak. They were photographed from the air by Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions in 1957, and were named by the Antarctic Names Committee of Australia for Sergeant A.S. Manning, Royal Australian Air Force, an airframe fitter at Mawson Station in 1958.

Luff Nunatak is a narrow nunatak, 3 nautical miles (6 km) long, located west of Foster Nunatak in the Manning Nunataks of Antarctica, in the eastern part of the Amery Ice Shelf. The Manning Nunataks were photographed by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump (1946–47) and the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) (1957). They were visited by the Soviet Antarctic Expedition in 1965 and ANARE in 1969. The nunatak was named by the Antarctic Names Committee of Australia for T.S. Luff, a senior diesel mechanic at Mawson Station in 1970, and a member of the ANARE glaciological traverse party on the Amery Ice Shelf in January 1970.

Lacroix Nunatak is a ridge of terminal moraine, about 1 nautical mile (2 km) long and 75 metres (250 ft) high, standing immediately south of a small zone of low rocky ridges which protrude above the ice-covered point 2 nautical miles (4 km) southwest of Cape Margerie, Adélie Coast, Antarctica. It was discovered in 1931 by the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, and was named by Mawson after French mineralogist Alfred Lacroix. It was photographed from the air by U.S. Navy Operation Highjump, 1946–47, and surveyed by the French Antarctic Expedition, 1949–51, which established an astronomical control station near its center.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Percy Correll</span>

Percy Correll (1892–1974) was a mechanic and an assistant physicist on Sir Douglas Mawson's scientific expedition to Antarctica from 1911–1914, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Antarctic Station Catalogue (PDF) (catalogue). Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs. August 2017. p. 33. ISBN   978-0-473-40409-3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 January 2022. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  2. "Living at Davis". Australian Antarctic Division . Department of the Environment, Australian Government. 6 November 2002. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  3. 1 2 "Mawson station: a brief history". History of Australian Antarctic stations. Australian Antarctic Division. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  4. Australian Philatelic Bulletin, Vol. 16, p. 28
  5. "Mawson Station, Mawson Station, EXT, Australia (Place ID 105444)". Australian Heritage Database . Australian Government. 22 June 2004. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  6. "Mawson science". Australian Antarctic Division. 21 August 2006. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  7. 1 2 Scott, Keith (1993). The Australian Geographic book of Antarctica. Terrey Hills, New South Wales: Australian Geographic. pp. 29–31. ISBN   1-86276-010-1.
  8. "International Antarctic Analysis Centre". The Polar Record. 9 (62): 4765–87. 1959. doi:10.1017/S0032247400066651.
  9. "Monthly Climate Statistics for Mawson". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  10. Lambert, B.P. (1967). "Report on geodetic and cartographic activities, 1960-65". The Polar Record. 13 (86): 703–37. doi:10.1017/S0032247400058393.
  11. "Mount Elkins". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior . Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  12. "Mount Elkins". Gazetteer of the Australian Antarctic Data Centre. Kingston, Tasmania: Australian Antarctic Data Centre, Department of the Environment and Energy. 2021. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  13. "Armstrong Peak". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior . Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  14. "Bird Ridge". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior . Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  15. "Griffiths, Mount". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior . Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  16. "Newman Nunataks". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior . Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  17. "Wilkinson Peaks". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior . Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  18. "Young Nunataks". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior . Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  19. Virtual reality beaches in Antarctica beating isolation and helping future astronauts, Carla Howarth, ABC News Online, 2018-10-10
  20. Stations Australian Antarctic Division. Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  21. Yates, Peter (1 March 2006). "Wired for sound…and email…and video" (PDF). Australian Antarctic Magazine. Australian Antarctic Division (10): 10. Retrieved 26 April 2017. The first satellite earth-station, which includes a 7.3 m dish antenna, was installed and commissioned at Davis in March 1987. Mawson was commissioned in January 1988, Casey in March 1988, and Macquarie Island in December 1988.
  22. 1 2 Intracontinental ski landing area locations, Australian Antarctic Division. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  23. This week at Mawson: 3 February 2012, Australian Antarctic Division. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  24. 1 2 Living at Mawson, Australian Antarctic Division. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  25. "Lauritzen 'Dan' ships 1953-1987". Australian Antarctic Division: Leading Australia's Antarctic Program. Australian Department of the Environment and Energy. 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  26. Wind power, Australian Antarctic Division. 21 July 2022 .Retrieved 28 January 2023.

Further reading