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Ellsworth Station

Ellsworth Scientific Station (Spanish: Estación Científica Ellsworth, or simply Estación Ellsworth or Base Ellsworth) was a permanent, all year-round originally American, then Argentine Antarctic scientific research station named after American polar explorer Lincoln Ellsworth. It was located on Gould Bay, on the Filchner Ice Shelf.

Ellsworth Station

Estación Científica Ellsworth

Estación Ellsworth
Base Ellsworth
Antarctic base
Ellsworth Scientific Station
UC-1 Otter of VXE-6 in flight near Ellsworth Station, Antarctica in 1958
A U.S. Navy de Havilland Canada UC-1 Otter of Antarctic Development Squadron 6 (VXE-6) in flight over a large open crevasse near Ellsworth Station, Antarctica, in 1958
Location within Antarctica
Location within Antarctica
Ellsworth Station
Location within Antarctica
Coordinates: 77°39′00″S 41°02′00″W / 77.65°S 41.033333°W / -77.65; -41.033333Coordinates: 77°39′00″S 41°02′00″W / 77.65°S 41.033333°W / -77.65; -41.033333
Country Argentina
ProvinceTierra del Fuego, Antarctica, and South Atlantic Islands Province
DepartmentAntártida Argentina
RegionFilchner Ice Shelf
LocationGould Bay
EstablishedJanuary 18, 1957 (1957-01-18)
(1956–57 austral summer season)
EvacuatedDecember 30, 1962 (1962-12-30)
Named forLincoln Ellsworth
Government
 • TypeDirectorate
 • BodyDirección Nacional del Antártico
 • OperatorInstituto Antártico Argentino
Elevation
42 m (138 ft)
Population
  • Summer: 40
  • Winter: 40
Time zoneUTC-3 (ART)
TypeAll year-round (1957–1962)
PeriodAnnual
StatusAbandoned since 1962 over safety concerns.
Remains presumed lost in Southern Ocean
Facilities
  • Main house
  • Personnel houses
  • Airstrip
  • Radio station
  • Power plant
  • Laboratory (meteorology, astronomy, seismography, riometry)
  • Deposits

It was shut down in 1962 over safety concerns due to it being built on increasingly unstable ice, which produced fast deterioration of its superstructures and endangered both personnel and equipment.[1]

HistoryEdit

Ellsworth Station was built by United States Navy Seabees under the command of Captain Finn Ronne,[2] with the support of the icebreakers USS Staten Island and USS Wyandot, captained by Francis Gambacorta.[3][4] The originally planned site for the station was Cape Adams, but when the terrain proved impractical due to huge ice cliffs, an alternate location on Gould Bay was selected,[3] on the western coast of the Weddell Sea over the Filchner Ice Shelf, and close to the Argentinean Belgrano I Base.[5]

Part of the scheduled agenda for the International Geophysical Year, Ellsworth Station was commissioned on 11 February 1957 and less than two years later, on 17 January 1959, was handed over to the Argentinean Antarctic Institute. Along with the handover, the United States government gave all the buildings, facilities, and existing food supplies while Argentina provided the logistical and administrative services necessary for the continued operation of the station.[5] It was agreed that scientists of both countries would work together at the place in technical studies and scientific research.[5]

On 31 December 1959, the Argentinean icebreaker ARA General San Martín was heading to Ellsworth Station to exchange personnel deliver and consumables when it received a SOS signal from the NorwegianSouth African exploration ship Polarbjorn, which had gotten stuck in ice. The Argentineans managed to set the ship free so it could follow with its planned route along the coastline, However, the General San Martín was later unable to reach its own primary goal—located on the deepest recess of the Weddell Sea—due to unusually thick pack ice on the target area.[6]

On 6 January 1962, Frigate Captain Hermes Quijada of the Argentine Naval Aviation, leading a two-plane flight of Douglas C-47s, made a stopover at Ellsworth Base before continuing to the South Pole. He became the pilot of the first airplane that had taken off from the Americas, and then landed at the South Pole.[5][7]

Feasibility of the station came into question when structural problems caused by the unstable ice had the base half-sunken during most of the spring.[1] To protect personnel and equipment, Ellsworth base was closed and all of its staff and equipment were evacuated on 30 December 1962, during the 1962–63 antarctic summer campaign.[5] It continued to be inspected periodically by Argentinean exploration teams:[8] it was eventually covered by snow and ice. The Filchner Shelf sector where it was located as split off a giant iceberg, and then it drifted through the Southern Ocean, where the base's remains have been lost at sea.[1]

DescriptionEdit

The original facilities at Ellsworth Station could house over 40 people.

Scientific activitiesEdit

During its operational days a number of experiments and observations were carried out at Ellsworth, involving ionospheric riometry observations; biology; human physiology; and surface and high-atmosphere meteorology, including radiation and carbon dioxide measurements.[5]

There was also active research involving glaciology at the Filchner Ice Shelf, which was explored by several expeditions launched from the station. Some of these patrols reached the West Crevice on the huge barrier, completing the Ellsworth–Belgrano triangulation.[5]

ClimateEdit

The area is a passage of weather fronts directed towards the north: although they do not precipitate, they do produce strong winds exceeding 200 km/h (120 mph) which radically lower the apparent temperature.[9]

Climate data for Ellsworth Station
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −6
(22)
−13
(9)
−19
(−3)
−23
(−10)
−24
(−11)
−28
(−19)
−29
(−21)
−29
(−21)
−27
(−16)
−19
(−2)
−12
(11)
−6
(22)
−19
(−2)
Average low °C (°F) −11
(12)
−19
(−2)
−27
(−16)
−32
(−25)
−32
(−26)
−36
(−32)
−37
(−35)
−37
(−35)
−34
(−30)
−26
(−15)
−18
(−1)
−11
(13)
−26
(−15)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 7.6
(0.3)
5.1
(0.2)
7.6
(0.3)
15
(0.6)
5.1
(0.2)
5.1
(0.2)
5.1
(0.2)
5.1
(0.2)
7.6
(0.3)
10
(0.4)
13
(0.5)
5.1
(0.2)
86
(3.4)
Source: Weatherbase [10]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Citations
  1. ^ a b c "Campaña Antártica 1962–1963" (in Spanish). Sitio no oficial del rompehielos A.R.A. Almirante Irízar. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009.
  2. ^ Griffiths 2007, p. 210.
  3. ^ a b Mooney 1976, p. 610.
  4. ^ "Antarctica Detail". geonames.usgs.gov.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Base Ellsworth" (in Spanish). Fundaciòn Marambio. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014.
  6. ^ Symposium on Antarctic Logistics 1963.
  7. ^ "Primer Vuelo Argentino al Polo Sur" (in Spanish). Fundaciòn Marambio. Archived from the original on 3 March 2011.
  8. ^ "Campaña Antártica 1972–1973" (in Spanish). Sitio no oficial del rompehielos A.R.A. Almirante Irízar. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Base Belgrano II" (in Spanish). Fundaciòn Marambio. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Ellsworth, Antarctica". Weatherbase. 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
Articles
  • Papers and Proceedings. Symposium on Antarctic Logistics. Boulder, CO: National Academies. 1963. p. 746. NAP:12264.
Books

External linksEdit