History:

Commissioned on 1st January 1957. Established during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58. Byrd Station was originally used year round. Construction of a second underground station began in 1961, about six miles from the original location, and it was used as a year-round research station until 1972. The station was then converted into a summer-only field camp until it was abandoned in 2004-05 but has been resurrected in the beginning of 2009. Was open during the Summer season - 28th October 2004 till 8th February 2005

Location:

Pine Island Glacier area, West Antarctica - (80°01′S 119°32′W)

 

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Byrd Service Camp

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Byrd Service Camp -80.010000, 119.320000 Byrd Service Camp

Notes:

Byrd Station was a major under-snow research facility operated year-round from early 1957 to February 1972. Now, Byrd Surface Camp is operated during the Summer as a fuel stop and weather station for planes flying between McMurdo and destinations in West Antarctica. Typical summer population is eight personnel. The camp consists of sled-mounted modules.

Byrd Surface Camp carried on support for science in West Antarctica in succeeding summers, albeit scaled down from the heyday of the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s, the camp primarily supported the new Siple Station at the base of the Antarctic Peninsula as a waypoint for flights.

Notes: Byrd Station was a major under-snow research facility operated year-round from early 1957 to February 1972. Now, Byrd Surface Camp is operated during the Summer as a fuel stop and weather station for planes flying between McMurdo and destinations in West Antarctica. Typical summer population is eight personnel. The camp consists of sled-mounted modules.

Byrd Surface Camp carried on support for science in West Antarctica in succeeding summers, albeit scaled down from the heyday of the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s, the camp primarily supported the new Siple Station at the base of the Antarctic Peninsula as a waypoint for flights.

A completely new camp capable of supporting upwards of 50 people is being planned in the 2009-10 field season, as scientists fan out across West Antarctica to install a GPS and seismic network, to fly radar-equipped airplanes over the ice sheet and to peer underneath the continent’s fastest-moving glacier at Pine Island.

Science programmes:

For the future, plans are made for a two-year project to bore holes through the ice with a hot water drill, and then lower instruments into the ocean cavity below the glacier and ice shelf to learn more about ocean-ice interaction. A second project requires flying to a number of remote sits to install GPS and seismic instruments to monitor the rebound of the bedrock below the ice sheet — a program called POLENET

Area and buildings:

Originally, the station consisted in a set of four prefabricated buildings, which collapsed a couple of years later under the weight of snow.

 

Commissioned on Feb. 13, 1961, a “second” Station had prefabricated buildings with steel “wonder arches” were lowered into man-made trenches and manually covered with snow, a concept first developed and tested in Greenland by the U.S. Army. Only scientific structures were located above ground. Tunnels connected the stations’ various facilities, which served to support the largest inland scientific program at the time.

 

New Byrd Station outlived its predecessor, lasting for about a decade. However, equipment vapors, human breathing and various other sources caused rime to form on the inside, and over a period of several years, the structures buckled from within. In 1972, the station was redesigned and moved to the surface. It was then used as a summer-only field camp.

During the 1981-82 summer season, a crew built a new modular, sled-mounted camp to get away from the Korean War-era Jamesways, or tent-like buildings. The six-unit, interconnected camp included a self-contained water production unit. The camp design allowed a crew to quickly disconnect it and store it at the end of each season to offset the effects of drifting snow accumulation.

The camp continued to move around through the 1980s. Crews pushed it near the skiway, or landing strip, in 1983, a job that took a little more than 24 hours beginning on 1st Dec. Byrd slightly shifted locations again in 1986, though the new site offered an uneven surface.

Differential settling of the sled-mounted berthing module, caused by heat radiating from the galley (and probably the proximity of the camp’s wastewater outfall to the sleds), had caused minor structural damage to the galley and bathroom unit. By the 1988-89 season, however, differential settling was causing a host of problems, f.i. doors didn’t fit correctly in frames and floors buckled between the units.

The camp began the 1990s with yet another move to stave off further damage. By that time, Byrd mostly functioned as an emergency diversion landing and support station for intra-continental flights, and as a weather observation site.

Interesting Trivia:

  • Named after the famed Polar explorer Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd Jr.

 

Source:

Gallery