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Davis Station

Davis Station

Overview


Davis Station is a permanent base in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). It is the busiest Australian scientific research station. Davis Station is located at 68°35′S 77°58′E on the coast of Cooperation Sea
Cooperation Sea
Cooperation Sea, also called Commonwealth Sea or Sodruzhestva Sea, is a sea of the Southern Ocean, between Enderby Land and West Ice Shelf , off the coast of MacRobertson Land and Princess Elizabeth Land...

 in Princess Elizabeth Land
Princess Elizabeth Land
Princess Elizabeth Land is the sector of the Australian Antarctic Territory between longitude 73° east and Cape Penck 87°43' east. Princess Elizabeth Land is located between 64°56'S and 90°00'S and between 73°35' E and 87°43'E...

 (Ingrid Christensen Coast
Ingrid Christensen Coast
Ingrid Christensen Coast is that portion of the coast of Antarctica lying between Jennings Promontory, in 72° 33' E, and the western end of the West Ice Shelf in 81° 24' E. It is located in the western half of Princess Elizabeth Land, just east of Amery Ice Shelf. The coast was discovered and a...

) in a remarkable ice free area (Antarctic oasis
Antarctic oasis
An Antarctic oasis is a large area naturally free of snow and ice in the otherwise ice-covered continent of Antarctica.-Geology:In Antarctica there are, in addition to mountain tops and nunataks, other natural snow- and ice-free areas often referred to as "Antarctic oases" or "dry valleys"...

) of Antarctica known as the Vestfold Hills
Vestfold Hills
Vestfold Hills is an area of rounded rock coastal hills, in extent, located at the north side of Sorsdal Glacier on Ingrid Christensen Coast in Antarctica. The hills are subdivided by three west-trending peninsulas bounded by narrow fjords...

.

The first recorded sighting of the coastline now occupied by Davis Station was on 9 February 1931, during the second British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition
British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition
The British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition was a research expedition into Antarctica between 1929 and 1931, involving two voyages over consecutive Austral summers...

 (BANZARE) voyage aboard Discovery.
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Davis Station
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Davis Station Information Country: Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

State: Australian Antarctic Territory
Australian Antarctic Territory
The Australian Antarctic Territory is a part of Antarctica. It was claimed by the United Kingdom and placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1933. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation...

District: Princess Elizabeth Land District
Princess Elizabeth Land
Princess Elizabeth Land is the sector of the Australian Antarctic Territory between longitude 73° east and Cape Penck 87°43' east. Princess Elizabeth Land is located between 64°56'S and 90°00'S and between 73°35' E and 87°43'E...

State Capital: Capital of the Australian Antarctic Territory
Australian Antarctic Territory
The Australian Antarctic Territory is a part of Antarctica. It was claimed by the United Kingdom and placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1933. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation...

District Capital: Capital of the Princess Elizabeth Land District
Princess Elizabeth Land
Princess Elizabeth Land is the sector of the Australian Antarctic Territory between longitude 73° east and Cape Penck 87°43' east. Princess Elizabeth Land is located between 64°56'S and 90°00'S and between 73°35' E and 87°43'E...

Position: Princess Elizabeth Land
Princess Elizabeth Land
Princess Elizabeth Land is the sector of the Australian Antarctic Territory between longitude 73° east and Cape Penck 87°43' east. Princess Elizabeth Land is located between 64°56'S and 90°00'S and between 73°35' E and 87°43'E...

Population: 70 (summer), 20 (winter). Coordinates: 68°34′35"S 77°58′08"E. Foundation: 1957


Davis Station is a permanent base in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). It is the busiest Australian scientific research station. Davis Station is located at 68°35′S 77°58′E on the coast of Cooperation Sea
Cooperation Sea
Cooperation Sea, also called Commonwealth Sea or Sodruzhestva Sea, is a sea of the Southern Ocean, between Enderby Land and West Ice Shelf , off the coast of MacRobertson Land and Princess Elizabeth Land...

 in Princess Elizabeth Land
Princess Elizabeth Land
Princess Elizabeth Land is the sector of the Australian Antarctic Territory between longitude 73° east and Cape Penck 87°43' east. Princess Elizabeth Land is located between 64°56'S and 90°00'S and between 73°35' E and 87°43'E...

 (Ingrid Christensen Coast
Ingrid Christensen Coast
Ingrid Christensen Coast is that portion of the coast of Antarctica lying between Jennings Promontory, in 72° 33' E, and the western end of the West Ice Shelf in 81° 24' E. It is located in the western half of Princess Elizabeth Land, just east of Amery Ice Shelf. The coast was discovered and a...

) in a remarkable ice free area (Antarctic oasis
Antarctic oasis
An Antarctic oasis is a large area naturally free of snow and ice in the otherwise ice-covered continent of Antarctica.-Geology:In Antarctica there are, in addition to mountain tops and nunataks, other natural snow- and ice-free areas often referred to as "Antarctic oases" or "dry valleys"...

) of Antarctica known as the Vestfold Hills
Vestfold Hills
Vestfold Hills is an area of rounded rock coastal hills, in extent, located at the north side of Sorsdal Glacier on Ingrid Christensen Coast in Antarctica. The hills are subdivided by three west-trending peninsulas bounded by narrow fjords...

.

History


The first recorded sighting of the coastline now occupied by Davis Station was on 9 February 1931, during the second British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition
British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition
The British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition was a research expedition into Antarctica between 1929 and 1931, involving two voyages over consecutive Austral summers...

 (BANZARE) voyage aboard Discovery. Sir Douglas Mawson
Douglas Mawson
Sir Douglas Mawson, OBE, FRS, FAA was an Australian geologist, Antarctic explorer and Academic. Along with Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, and Ernest Shackleton, Mawson was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.-Early work:He was appointed geologist to an...

 and Flight Lieutenant Stuart Campbell sighted the Antarctic continent from a seaplane and named the high land to the southeast Princess Elizabeth Land.

The first recorded landing in the region was made in 1935 by the Norwegian whaler Captain Klarius Mikkelsen in the vessel Thorshavn. Mikkelsen named the hills after the Vestfold province of Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, on the western side of Oslo Fjord, which he considered it resembled, and where the Christensen company's headquarters was located, at the town of Sandefjord.

On 20 February 1935, together with his wife and seven crew members (including the ship's dentist, Lief Sørsdal), Mikkelsen landed in a small bay on an unnamed island at the northern end of the Vestfold Hills. Mrs Caroline Mikkelsen
Caroline Mikkelsen
Caroline Mikkelsen , was the first woman to set foot on Antarctica. She was born in Denmark. In the winter of 1934-1935, she accompanied her Norwegian husband, Captain Klarius Mikkelsen, on an expedition sponsored by Lars Christensen...

 was the first woman to set foot on the Antarctic continent and the party raised the Norwegian flag on an improvised flagpole and built a rock cairn to mark the site. This cairn was found by members of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions
Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions
The Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions is the historical name for the Australian Antarctic Program administered for Australia by the Australian Antarctic Division .-The ANARE Name:...

 (ANARE) in 1960 but was lost for many years until its rediscovery in 1995. (As an interesting aside, Caroline Mikkelsen was still alive in 1996 and received word of the rediscovery of the original flag pole.) Captain Mikkelsen named the area "Ingrid Christensen Land" after the wife of the ship's owner, Lars Christensen
Lars Christensen
Lars Christensen was a Norwegian shipowner and whaling magnate with a keen interest in the exploration of Antarctica.-Career:...

. Mrs Christensen was later to land in Antarctica herself - on 30 January 1937, at Scullin Monolith
Scullin monolith
Scullin Monolith is a crescent-shaped rock fronting the sea 4 miles west of Torlyn Mountain in Mac. Robertson Land. Early in January 1930 the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition under Douglas Mawson made an aerial flight from the ship area...

 (which the Norwegians called Klarius Mikkelsen Mountain).

The Thorshavn and Klarius Mikkelsen, along with Lars Christensen, were back in the Vestfold Hills area in the 1936–37 summer. An area to the immediate north of the Vestfold Hills was used as a take-off and landing area for a seaplane, from which oblique aerial photos were taken for mapping purposes. The first map of the Vestfold Hills, derived from this imagery, was published after WW2.

The next recorded visitors to the area were the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 explorer Lincoln Ellsworth
Lincoln Ellsworth
Lincoln Ellsworth was an arctic explorer from the United States.-Birth:He was born on May 12, 1880 to James Ellsworth and Eva Frances Butler in Chicago, Illinois...

 and his Australian aircraft pilot and observer, Sir Hubert Wilkins
Hubert Wilkins
Sir Hubert Wilkins MC & Bar was an Australian polar explorer, ornithologist, pilot, soldier, geographer and photographer.-Early life:...

 in Ellsworth's ship the Wyatt Earp. Despite Wilkins' protestations that Mawson had already claimed the area for Australia, Ellsworth planned to lodge a counter claim for America. In response to this, Wilkins took pre-emptive action and made two landings. The first was on one of the Rauer Islands
Rauer Islands
Rauer Islands is a group of rocky coastal islands which lie between Sorsdal Glacier Tongue and Ranvik Bay, in the southeast part of Prydz Bay. Discovered and roughly charted in February 1935 by a Norwegian expedition under Captain Klarius Mikkelsen. He named them Rauer, probably after the island...

, at 68° 46' South, 77° 50' East on 8 January 1939, and the second on a rocky outcrop at 68° 22' South 70° 33' East on 11 January 1939. At both of these locations he deposited decrees recognising Australia's right to ". . . administrate . . . those parts of His Majesty's dominions in the Antarctic Seas". Along with the decree he left a copy of the famous Australian geographical magazine 'Walkabout". Of three such sites, only the northern cairn has been located and hence the name "Walkabout Rocks".

During the U.S. Antarctic explorations that formed a part of "Operation Highjump
Operation Highjump
Operation Highjump , officially titled The United States Navy Antarctic Developments Program, 1946-1947, was a United States Navy operation organized by RADM Richard E. Byrd Jr. USN, , Officer in Charge, Task Force 68, and led by RADM Richard H. Cruzen, USN, Commanding Officer, Task Force 68....

" in 1947 the USS Currituck
USS Currituck (AV-7)
USS Currituck was the first of four Currituck class seaplane tenders, and was nicknamed the Wild Goose. She was built during World War II and served during the Cold War....

 visited the area, but no landing took place. As part of Operation Highjump, the Vestfolds and surrounding were extensively photographed from the air.

The first ANARE landing in the Vestfold Hills was made on 3 March 1954 by Phillip Law
Phillip Law
Phillip Garth Law AC, CBE, FAA was an Australian scientist and explorer who served as director of Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions from 1949 to 1966.-Early life:...

, Peter Shaw, John Hansen, Arthur Gwynn and R. Thompson. They raised the Australian flag at Law Cairn, to the north of Davis Station, but had to return to their ship soon after due to deteriorating weather.

On 12 January 1956, members of the Soviet Antarctic Expedition landed on the Ingrid Christensen Coast, in preparation for the International Geophysical Year
International Geophysical Year
The International Geophysical Year was an international scientific project that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958. It marked the end of a long period during the Cold War when scientific interchange between East and West was seriously interrupted...

 (1957–58). The Soviets did not stay for long but even today the Russian presence is betrayed by some distinctively Russian names on the map (Lakes Lebed, Zvezda and Druzhby among them) They later established their base at Mirny Station
Mirny Station
Mirny is a Russian science station in Antarctica, located on the Antarctic coast of the Davis Sea in the Australian Antarctic Territory. Named after support vessel of the Bellingshausen's expedition....

, some 350km to the east of Davis.

As Phillip Law recalled during a short visit to Davis on 11 January 1998, it was felt that if Australia did not establish a base in the Vestfold Hills the Russians would, and so in 1955 the Australian Government announced that a new station would be established in the Vestfold Hills.

A further exploratory visit was made by ANARE in January 1955 that involved two teams traversing much of the Vestfold Hills. During January 1957, an ANARE party led by Dr Phillip Law sailing on the Kista Dan attempted to locate a suitable site for the station. This proved difficult due to a lack of good ship anchorages and a scarcity of fresh water sources. On 12 January, after two days of attempting to find a suitable site, a last minute decision was made to locate the station on a small rocky plateau located above a black sandy beach. Unloading began immediately and, on 13 January 1957, a small ceremony was held to officially open the new station. It was named Davis " . . .to honour Captain John King Davis
John King Davis
John King Davis, CBE was an English-born Australian explorer and navigator notable for his work captaining exploration ships in Antarctic waters as well as for establishing meteorological stations on Macquarie Island in the subantarctic and on Willis Island in the Coral Sea.-Early life:Davis's...

, a famous Antarctic navigator and captain . . . at present . . . living in Melbourne, a member of the ANARE Planning Committee". (Law's address on the day). After the ceremony, unloading recommenced and continued until 20 January when the Kista Dan sailed. The Kista Dan made a return visit to Davis later dropping off dogs and one more expeditioner.

Bob Dingle, Alan Hawker, Nils Lied, Bill Lucas and Bruce Stinear made up the first party to winter in the Vestfold Hills. The party was not completely isolated however as Auster
Auster
Auster Aircraft Limited was a British aircraft manufacturer from 1938 to 1961.-History:The company began in 1938 at the Britannia Works, Thurmaston near Leicester, England, as Taylorcraft Aeroplanes Limited, making light observation aircraft designed by the Taylorcraft Aircraft Corporation of...

 aircraft flew between Mawson Station
Mawson Station
Mawson Station is one of three permanent Australian bases in the Australian Antarctic Territory of East Antarctica. Named after Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, the base is managed by the Australian Antarctic Division...

 and Davis several times that year exchanging personnel and supplies.

Davis was temporarily closed on 25 January 1965 in order to make resources available for the rebuilding of Casey Station
Casey Station
Casey Station is a permanent base in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division located on Vincennes Bay in the Australian Antarctic Territory.- History :...

. It was reopened on 15 February 1969 and has been continuously occupied since that time. The original small huts ("dongas") fell into disuse and disrepair from the late 1970s / early 1980s, with a major rebuilding program.

Davis has become the busiest of Australia's Antarctic stations supporting a wide variety of scientific research in both the local and surrounding areas during the summer time. During the winter time, the principal research activity is Upper Atmospheric Physics.

Climate


Davis Station experiences a Polar climate
Polar climate
Regions with a polar climate are characterized by a lack of warm summers . Regions with polar climate cover over 20% of the Earth. The sun shines 24 hours in the summer, and barely ever shines at all in the winter...

:
Climate Table
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum temperature (°C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

)
3.1 -0.3 -5.6 -10.4 -12.7 -12.4 -14.4 -14.2 -13.1 -9.0 -2.4 2.5 -7.4
Mean daily minimum temperature (°C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

)
-1.2 -4.5 -10.8 -16.1 -18.9 -18.7 -20.6 -20.7 -20.0 -15.3 -7.7 -2.1 -13.0
Mean daily sunshine (hours) 8.9 6.0 3.1 2.2 0.7 0.0 0.2 1.9 4.1 5.3 7.7 9.9 4.2
Mean number of cloudy days 16.9 17.5 21.0 18.7 18.4 15.6 15.2 17.0 16.2 18.7 17.2 16.6 209.0
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

See also

  • Mawson Station
    Mawson Station
    Mawson Station is one of three permanent Australian bases in the Australian Antarctic Territory of East Antarctica. Named after Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, the base is managed by the Australian Antarctic Division...

  • Casey Station
    Casey Station
    Casey Station is a permanent base in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division located on Vincennes Bay in the Australian Antarctic Territory.- History :...

  • Macquarie Island
    Macquarie Island
    Macquarie Island lies in the southwest corner of the Pacific Ocean, about half-way between New Zealand and Antarctica, at 54°30S, 158°57E. Politically, it has formed part of the Australian state of Tasmania since 1900 and became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978. In 1997 it became a world heritage...

  • Australian Antarctic Territory
    Australian Antarctic Territory
    The Australian Antarctic Territory is a part of Antarctica. It was claimed by the United Kingdom and placed under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1933. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation...

  • Australian Antarctic Division
    Australian Antarctic Division
    The Australian Antarctic Division is an agency of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities . The division undertakes science programs and research projects to contribute to an understanding of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean...


External links