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Mawson Station

Mawson Station

Overview
Mawson Station is one of three permanent Australian bases in 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...

 of East Antarctica
East Antarctica
East Antarctica, also called Greater Antarctica, constitutes the majority of the Antarctic continent, lying on the Indian Ocean side of the Transantarctic Mountains...

. Named after Antarctic explorer 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...

, the base is managed by the 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...

 (AAD). Established in 1954, Mawson is Australia's oldest Antarctic station and the oldest continuously inhabited Antarctic station south of the Antarctic Circle
Antarctic Circle
The Antarctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs south of the Equator.-Description:...

.

Mawson Research Station is a base for scientific research programs including an underground cosmic ray
Cosmic ray
Cosmic rays are energetic charged subatomic particles, originating from outer space. They may produce secondary particles that penetrate the Earth's atmosphere and surface. The term ray is historical as cosmic rays were thought to be electromagnetic radiation...

 detector, various long-term meteorological
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

, aeronomy
Aeronomy
Aeronomy is the science of the upper region of the atmosphere, where dissociation and ionization are important. The term aeronomy was introduced by Sydney Chapman, and the above definition stems from 1960. Today the term also includes the science of the corresponding regions of the atmospheres of...

 and geomagnetic
Earth's magnetic field
Earth's magnetic field is the magnetic field that extends from the Earth's inner core to where it meets the solar wind, a stream of energetic particles emanating from the Sun...

 studies, as well as ongoing conservation biology
Conservation biology
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction...

 studies, in particular of nearby Auster rookery
Auster rookery
67° 23' 46.0" S, 63° 57' 02.5" EAuster Rookery is an Emperor penguin rookery on sea-ice, sheltered by grounded icebergs about 51 km ENE of Mawson Station in Antarctica....

, a breeding ground
Rookery
A rookery is a colony of breeding animals, generally birds. A rook is a Northern European and Central Asian member of the crow family, which nest in prominent colonies at the tops of trees. The term is applied to the nesting place of birds, such as crows and rooks, the source of the term...

 for Emperor Penguin
Emperor Penguin
The Emperor Penguin is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica. The male and female are similar in plumage and size, reaching in height and weighing anywhere from . The dorsal side and head are black and sharply delineated from the white belly,...

s and Adélie Penguin
Adelie Penguin
The Adélie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae, is a species of penguin common along the entire Antarctic coast. They are among the most southerly distributed of all seabirds, as are the Emperor Penguin, the South Polar Skua, the Wilson's Storm Petrel, the Snow Petrel, and the Antarctic Petrel...

s.

Mawson Station houses approximately 20 personnel over winter and up to 60 in summer.
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Encyclopedia
Mawson Station is one of three permanent Australian bases in 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...

 of East Antarctica
East Antarctica
East Antarctica, also called Greater Antarctica, constitutes the majority of the Antarctic continent, lying on the Indian Ocean side of the Transantarctic Mountains...

. Named after Antarctic explorer 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...

, the base is managed by the 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...

 (AAD). Established in 1954, Mawson is Australia's oldest Antarctic station and the oldest continuously inhabited Antarctic station south of the Antarctic Circle
Antarctic Circle
The Antarctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs south of the Equator.-Description:...

.

Purpose


Mawson Research Station is a base for scientific research programs including an underground cosmic ray
Cosmic ray
Cosmic rays are energetic charged subatomic particles, originating from outer space. They may produce secondary particles that penetrate the Earth's atmosphere and surface. The term ray is historical as cosmic rays were thought to be electromagnetic radiation...

 detector, various long-term meteorological
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

, aeronomy
Aeronomy
Aeronomy is the science of the upper region of the atmosphere, where dissociation and ionization are important. The term aeronomy was introduced by Sydney Chapman, and the above definition stems from 1960. Today the term also includes the science of the corresponding regions of the atmospheres of...

 and geomagnetic
Earth's magnetic field
Earth's magnetic field is the magnetic field that extends from the Earth's inner core to where it meets the solar wind, a stream of energetic particles emanating from the Sun...

 studies, as well as ongoing conservation biology
Conservation biology
Conservation biology is the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction...

 studies, in particular of nearby Auster rookery
Auster rookery
67° 23' 46.0" S, 63° 57' 02.5" EAuster Rookery is an Emperor penguin rookery on sea-ice, sheltered by grounded icebergs about 51 km ENE of Mawson Station in Antarctica....

, a breeding ground
Rookery
A rookery is a colony of breeding animals, generally birds. A rook is a Northern European and Central Asian member of the crow family, which nest in prominent colonies at the tops of trees. The term is applied to the nesting place of birds, such as crows and rooks, the source of the term...

 for Emperor Penguin
Emperor Penguin
The Emperor Penguin is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica. The male and female are similar in plumage and size, reaching in height and weighing anywhere from . The dorsal side and head are black and sharply delineated from the white belly,...

s and Adélie Penguin
Adelie Penguin
The Adélie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae, is a species of penguin common along the entire Antarctic coast. They are among the most southerly distributed of all seabirds, as are the Emperor Penguin, the South Polar Skua, the Wilson's Storm Petrel, the Snow Petrel, and the Antarctic Petrel...

s.

Mawson Station houses approximately 20 personnel over winter and up to 60 in summer. It is the only Antarctic station to use wind generator
Wind generator
A wind generator is a device that generates electrical power from wind energy.Wind generators have traditionally been wind turbines, i.e. a propeller attached to an electric generator attached to appropriate electronics to attach it to the electrical grid or to charge batteries.Recently, however, a...

s for over 70% of its power needs, saving over 600,000 litres of diesel fuel per year. It is accessible by sea for only a short period each austral summer, between February and March.

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. 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 Dr. 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:...

, first director of the AAD, who drew on aerial photographs taken during the U.S. 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....

 (OpHjp) of 1946-1947 to select the site for its large natural harbour (Horseshoe Harbour) and permanently exposed rock for building. 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 which started in the late 1970s.

Geography


Mawson Station is located at Holme Bay
Holme Bay
Holme Bay is a bay in Antarctica by Mac. Robertson Land, wide, containing many islands, indenting the coast north of the Framnes Mountains. Holme Bay is largely snow-free and was mapped by Norwegian cartographers from aerial photographs taken by the Lars Christensen Expedition in January-February...

 in Mac Robertson Land, East Antarctica
East Antarctica
East Antarctica, also called Greater Antarctica, constitutes the majority of the Antarctic continent, lying on the Indian Ocean side of the Transantarctic Mountains...

, named in January 1930 by Sir Douglas Mawson during the first 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. 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
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...

.

Some notable geographic features in the region include the Framnes Mountains
Framnes Mountains
Framnes Mountains is an Antarctic mountain range consisting of Casey Range, Masson Range, David Range, and Brown Range, and adjacent peaks and mountains. The three major ranges and other lesser features were sighted and named in February 1931 by the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research...

, 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
Lars Christensen
Lars Christensen was a Norwegian shipowner and whaling magnate with a keen interest in the exploration of Antarctica.-Career:...

.

Further away, to the northwest, lie the Napier Mountains
Napier Mountains
The Napier Mountains are a group of more-or-less separated 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.-Location:...

, which were first visited by an ANARE survey party from Mawson Station in 1960. The survey party was led by Syd Kirkby, and included Terence James Elkins
Terence James Elkins
Terence James Elkins is an Australian-born American physicist. In 1960, he participated in an expedition from Mawson Station which conducted the first geological surveys of the Napier Mountains in Antarctica. The highest of this group of mountains, Mount Elkins, was subsequently named after him...

. The highest peak of this small range is Mount Elkins
Mount Elkins
Mount Elkins, also known as Jökelen is a dark, steep-sided mountain with three major peaks, the highest 2,300 metres above sea level. This peak is located in the Napier Mountains, in Enderby Land. Enderby Land is part of the Australian Antarctic Territory, in East Antarctica...

, which was named after Terence James Elkins, ionospheric physicist with ANARE at Mawson Station in 1960.

Climate


Mawson 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...

:

External links