British Antarctic Survey, 1978–79

Five main British Antarctic Survey stations were occupied throughout the year. These were Faraday and Halley (the two geophysical observatories), Signy (the main biological station), Grytviken (a multi-disciplinary sub-Antarctic station and centre for the Offshore Biological Programme) and Rothera (the centre for earth sciences programmes). During the 1978 winter, routine programmes were maintained by 69 men who also made preparations for the forthcoming summer season. The two BAS ships, RRS John Biscoe and RRS Bransfield, with assistance from two Twin Otter aircraft relieved the stations, as usual, and assisted summer field workers. With the early recall of John Biscoe to undergo a major refit, invaluable support was also given by HMS Endurance, especially in the Trinity Peninsula area. Apart from Rothera, relief was completed by the end of January 1979 and, in marked contrast to some years, Halley was reached without difficulty. Persistent sea ice late into the season in the southern part of the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula meant that Rothera could not be reached by Bransfield until mid-February. However, the season saw the completion of the new Rothera station, some major rebuilding at Faraday (originally constructed in 1954) and the installation of a new ionospherics laboratory at Halley. As with the design of the 1973 Halley station, the Rothera complex has aroused considerable international interest.


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Authors: Christie, E.C.

1 January, 1979
Polar Record / 19
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