United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, the natural hazards that threaten it; the organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology, geography and hydrology. The USGS is a fact-finding research organization with no regulatory responsibility; the USGS is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior. The USGS employs 8,670 people and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia; the USGS has major offices near Lakewood, Colorado, at the Denver Federal Center, Menlo Park, California. The current motto of the USGS, in use since August 1997, is "science for a changing world." The agency's previous slogan, adopted on the occasion of its hundredth anniversary, was "Earth Science in the Public Service." Since 2012, the USGS science focus is directed at six topical "Mission Areas", namely Climate and Land Use Change, Core Science Systems, Ecosystems and Minerals and Environmental Health, Natural Hazards, Water.
In December 2012, the USGS split the Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health Mission Area resulting in seven topical Mission Areas, with the two new areas being: Energy and Minerals and Environmental Health. Administratively, it is divided into six Regional Units. Other specific programs include: Earthquake Hazards Program monitors earthquake activity worldwide; the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines detects the location and magnitude of global earthquakes. The USGS runs or supports several regional monitoring networks in the United States under the umbrella of the Advanced National Seismic System; the USGS informs authorities, emergency responders, the media, the public, both domestic and worldwide, about significant earthquakes. It maintains long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research, it conducts and supports research on long-term seismic hazards. USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast.
As of 2005, the agency is working to create a National Volcano Early Warning System by improving the instrumentation monitoring the 169 volcanoes in U. S. territory and by establishing methods for measuring the relative threats posed at each site. The USGS National Geomagnetism Program monitors the magnetic field at magnetic observatories and distributes magnetometer data in real time; the USGS collaborates with Canadian and Mexican government scientists, along with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to produce the North American Environmental Atlas, used to depict and track environmental issues for a continental perspective. The USGS operates the streamgaging network for the United States, with over 7400 streamgages. Real-time streamflow data are available online. National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center implements partner-driven science to improve understanding of past and present land use change, develops relevant climate and land use forecasts, identifies lands and communities that are most vulnerable to adverse impacts of change from the local to global scale.
Since 1962, the Astrogeology Research Program has been involved in global and planetary exploration and mapping. In collaboration with Stanford University, the USGS operates the USGS-Stanford Ion Microprobe Laboratory, a world-class analytical facility for U--Pb geochronology and trace element analyses of minerals and other earth materials. USGS operates a number of water related programs, notably the National Streamflow Information Program and National Water-Quality Assessment Program. USGS Water data is publicly available from their National Water Information System database; the USGS operates the National Wildlife Health Center, whose mission is "to serve the nation and its natural resources by providing sound science and technical support, to disseminate information to promote science-based decisions affecting wildlife and ecosystem health. The NWHC provides information, technical assistance, research and leadership on national and international wildlife health issues." It is the agency responsible for surveillance of H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in the United States.
The USGS runs 17 biological research centers in the United States, including the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. The USGS is investigating collaboration with the social networking site Twitter to allow for more rapid construction of ShakeMaps; the USGS produces several national series of topographic maps which vary in scale and extent, with some wide gaps in coverage, notably the complete absence of 1:50,000 scale topographic maps or their equivalent. The largest and best-known topographic series is the 7.5-minute, 1:24,000 scale, quadrangle, a non-metric scale unique to the United States. Each of these maps covers an area bounded by two lines of latitude and two lines of longitude spaced 7.5 minutes apart. Nearly 57,000 individual maps in this series cover the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, U. S. territories, areas of Alaska near Anchorage and Prudhoe Bay. The area covered by each map varies with the latitude of its represented location due to convergence of the meridians. At lower latitudes, near 30° north, a 7.5-minute quadrangle contains an area of about 64 square miles.
At 49° north latitude, 49 square miles are contained within a quadrangle of that size. As a unique non-metric map scale, the 1:24,000 scale requires a separate and specialized romer scale for pl
Territorial claims in Antarctica
There are seven sovereign states who maintain de jure symbolic territorial claims in Antarctica: Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. These countries have tended to place their Antarctic scientific observation and study facilities within their respective claimed territories. According to Argentina and Chile, the Spanish Empire had claims on Antarctica; the capitulación granted to the conquistador Pedro Sánchez de la Hoz explicitly included all lands south of the Straits of Magellan. This grant established, according to Argentina and Chile, that an animus occupandi existed on the part of Spain in Antarctica. Spain's sovereignty claim over parts of Antarctica was, according to Chile and Argentina, internationally recognized with the Inter caetera bull of 1493 and the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494. Argentina and Chile treat these treaties as legal international treaties mediated by the Catholic Church, at that time a recognized arbiter in such matters; each country has claim a sector of the Antarctic continent, more or less directly south of its national antarctic-facing lands.
The United Kingdom reasserted sovereignty over the Falkland Islands in the far South Atlantic in 1833 and maintained a continuous presence there. In 1908, the British government extended its territorial claim by declaring sovereignty over "South Georgia, the South Orkneys, the South Shetlands, the Sandwich Islands, Graham's Land, situated in the South Atlantic Ocean and on the Antarctic continent to the south of the 50th parallel of south latitude, lying between the 20th and the 80th degrees of west longitude". All these territories were administered as Falkland Islands Dependencies from Stanley by the Governor of the Falkland Islands; the motivation for this declaration lay in the need to regulate and tax the whaling industry effectively. Commercial operators would hunt whales in areas outside the official boundaries of the Falkland Islands and its dependencies, there was a need to close this loophole. In 1917, the wording of the claim was modified, so as to unambiguously include all the territory in the sector stretching to the South Pole.
The new claim covered "all islands and territories whatsoever between the 20th degree of west longitude and the 50th degree of west longitude which are situated south of the 50th parallel of south latitude. It was the ambition of Leopold Amery Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, that Britain incorporate the entire continent into the Empire. In a memorandum to the governors-general for Australia and New Zealand, he wrote that'with the exception of Chile and Argentina and some barren islands belonging to France... it is desirable that the whole of the Antarctic should be included in the British Empire.' The first step was taken on 30 July 1923, when the British government passed an Order in Council under the British Settlements Act 1887, defining the new borders for the Ross Dependency—"that part of His Majesty's Dominions in the Antarctic Seas, which comprises all the islands and territories between the 160th degree of East Longitude and the 150th degree of West Longitude which are situated south of the 60th degree of South Latitude shall be named the Ross Dependency."
The Order in Council went on to appoint the Governor-General and Commander-in Chief of New Zealand as the Governor of the territory. In 1930, the United Kingdom claimed Enderby Land. In 1933, a British imperial order transferred territory south of 60° S and between meridians 160° E and 45° E to Australia as the Australian Antarctic Territory. Following the passing of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, the government of the United Kingdom relinquished all control over the government of New Zealand and Australia; this however had no bearing on the obligations of the governors-general of both countries in their capacity as Governors of the Antarctic territories. The basis for the claim to Adélie Land by France depended on the discovery of the coastline in 1840 by the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville, who named it after his wife, Adèle.. He erected the French flag and took possession of the land for France, on January 21st, 1840 at 5:30 PM; the British decided to recognize this claim, the border between Adélie Land and the Australian Antarctic Territory was fixed definitively in 1938.
These developments concerned Norwegian whaling interests, which wished to avoid British taxation of whaling stations in the Antarctic and felt concerns that they would be commercially excluded from the continent. The whale-ship owner Lars Christensen financed several expeditions to the Antarctic with the view to claiming land for Norway and to establishing stations on Norwegian territory to gain better privileges; the first expedition, led by Nils Larsen and Ola Olstad, landed on Peter I Island in 1929 and claimed the island for Norway. On 6 March 1931 a Norwegian royal proclamation declared the island under Norwegian sovereignty and on 23 March 1933 the island was declared a dependency; the 1929 expedition led by Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen and Finn Lützow-Holm named t
Wilkes Station was an Antarctic research station established 29 January 1957 by the United States as one of seven U. S. stations established for the International Geophysical Year program in Antarctica. It was taken over by Australia on 7 February 1959. Navy personnel from the United States constructed the main part of Wilkes in a period of 16 days in January and February 1957, unloading 11,000 tons of material and supplies, it took a crew of over 100 to erect the station which housed 24 naval personnel and scientists for the next 18 months. As this was the time of the Cold War, there was considerable concern by the United States and Australia about Russian activity in Antarctica. Wilkes was seen to be strategically located because of its proximity to the south magnetic pole. Australia assumed custody of Wilkes, which remained the property of the U. S. State Department, in February 1959. Although Australia took over the operational command, the remaining US personnel did not take kindly to being under Australian control.
There was a'back down' until 1961 when the station came under exclusive ANARE control. Wilkes had been built in 1957 for a two-year period. By 1964 the buildings had become a fire hazard due to fuel seepage, the station was becoming buried by snow and ice; the new station of Casey Repstat was developed on the other, side of Newcomb Bay, about two kilometers across the bay south of Wilkes. It was commissioned in 1969 and Wilkes was closed down. Wilkes Station is now permanently frozen in ice and is only revealed during a big thaw every four or five years. Many objects remain embedded in the ice, visitors are able to see the remains of the station through the ice. What remains at Wilkes are a number of barracks buildings known as Clements huts, the remnants of the semi-cylindrical canvas store buildings known as Jamesway huts. Wilkes features a series of storage dumps and a considerable amount of rubbish resulting from 12 years of occupation, including 7000 fuel and oil drums. In early 1988, the Australian Army's 17th Construction Squadron deployed Lieutenant Andrew Stanner to Wilkes Station, Antarctica in order to develop an environmental clean-up plan to remove, make safe or dispose of a large accumulation of rubbish, fuel in drums, explosives and gas cylinders deposited since the late 1950s.
The plan was subsequently carried out over a period of years for the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions by a series of detachments from the squadron. Ice Station, written by Matthew Reilly, is a fiction thriller loosely based on Wilkes Station; the Coldest Place on Earth, written by Robert Thompson who led the September 1962 Wilkes-Vostock Traverse, returning to Wilkes in January 1963. List of Antarctic research stations List of Antarctic field camps Australian Antarctic Division Casey Station Australian Antarctic Division Wilkes History
The Antarctic is a polar region around the Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica, the Kerguelen Plateau and other island territories located on the Antarctic Plate or south of the Antarctic Convergence; the Antarctic region includes the ice shelves and all the island territories in the Southern Ocean situated south of the Antarctic Convergence, a zone 32 to 48 km wide varying in latitude seasonally. The region covers some 20 percent of the Southern Hemisphere, of which 5.5 percent is the surface area of the Antarctic continent itself. All of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude are administered under the Antarctic Treaty System. Biogeographically, the Antarctic ecozone is one of eight ecozones of the Earth's land surface; the maritime part of the region constitutes the area of application of the international Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, where for technical reasons the Convention uses an approximation of the Convergence line by means of a line joining specified points along parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude.
The implementation of the Convention is managed through an international Commission headquartered in Hobart, Australia, by an efficient system of annual fishing quotas and international inspectors on the fishing vessels, as well as satellite surveillance. Most of the Antarctic region is situated south of 60°S latitude parallel, is governed in accordance with the international legal regime of the Antarctic Treaty System; the Treaty area covers the continent itself and its adjacent islands, as well as the archipelagos of the South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, Peter I Island, Scott Island and Balleny Islands. The islands situated between 60°S latitude parallel to the south and the Antarctic Convergence to the north, their respective 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones fall under the national jurisdiction of the countries that possess them: South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Bouvet Island, Heard and McDonald Islands. Kerguelen Islands are situated in the Antarctic Convergence area, while the Falkland Islands, Isla de los Estados, Hornos Island with Cape Horn, Diego Ramírez Islands, Campbell Island, Macquarie Island and Saint Paul Islands, Crozet Islands, Prince Edward Islands, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha group remain north of the Convergence and thus outside the Antarctic region.
A variety of animals live in Antarctica for at least some of the year, including: Seals Penguins South Georgia pipits Albatrosses Antarctic petrels Whales Fish, such as Antarctic icefish, Antarctic toothfish Squid, including the colossal squid Antarctic krillMost of the Antarctic continent is permanently covered by ice and snow, leaving less than 1 percent of the land exposed. There are only two species of flowering plant, Antarctic hair grass and Antarctic pearlwort, but a range of mosses, liverworts and macrofungi; the first Antarctic land discovered was the island of South Georgia, visited by the English merchant Anthony de la Roché in 1675. Although myths and speculation about a Terra Australis date back to antiquity, the first confirmed sighting of the continent of Antarctica is accepted to have occurred in 1820 by the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny; the first human born in the Antarctic was Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen born on 8 October 1913 in Grytviken, South Georgia.
The Antarctic region had no indigenous population when first discovered, its present inhabitants comprise a few thousand transient scientific and other personnel working on tours of duty at the several dozen research stations maintained by various countries. However, the region is visited by more than 40,000 tourists annually, the most popular destinations being the Antarctic Peninsula area and South Georgia Island. In December 2009, the growth of tourism, with consequences for both the ecology and the safety of the travellers in its great and remote wilderness, was noted at a conference in New Zealand by experts from signatories to the Antarctic Treaty; the definitive results of the conference was presented at the Antarctic Treaty states' meeting in Uruguay in May 2010. The Antarctic hosts the world's largest protected area comprising 1.07 million km2, the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Marine Protection Area created in 2012. The latter exceeds the surface area of another vast protected territory, the Greenland National Park’s 972,000 km2.
Because Antarctica surrounds the South Pole, it is theoretically located in all time zones. For practical purposes, time zones are based on territorial claims or the time zone of a station's owner country or supply base. Antarctic Circle History of Antarctica Krupnik, Michael A. Lang, Scott E. Miller, eds. Smithsonian at the Poles: Contributions to International Polar Year Science. Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2009. British Services Antarctic Expedition 2012 Committee for Environmental Protection of Antarctica Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty CCAMLR Commission Antarctic Heritage Trusts International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators Map of the Antarctic Convergence The South Atlantic and Subantarctic Islands
Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent. For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica, on average, is the coldest and windiest continent, has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm along the coast and far less inland; the temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C, though the average for the third quarter is −63 °C. Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, fungi, plants and certain animals, such as mites, penguins and tardigrades.
Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra. Antarctica is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 1820 when the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf; the continent, remained neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of accessible resources, isolation. In 1895, the first confirmed. Antarctica is a de facto condominium, governed by parties to the Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, thirty-eight have signed it since then; the treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, protects the continent's ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations; the name Antarctica is the romanised version of the Greek compound word ἀνταρκτική, feminine of ἀνταρκτικός, meaning "opposite to the Arctic", "opposite to the north".
Aristotle wrote in his book Meteorology about an Antarctic region in c. 350 BC Marinus of Tyre used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century CE. The Roman authors Hyginus and Apuleius used for the South Pole the romanised Greek name polus antarcticus, from which derived the Old French pole antartike attested in 1270, from there the Middle English pol antartik in a 1391 technical treatise by Geoffrey Chaucer. Before acquiring its present geographical connotations, the term was used for other locations that could be defined as "opposite to the north". For example, the short-lived French colony established in Brazil in the 16th century was called "France Antarctique"; the first formal use of the name "Antarctica" as a continental name in the 1890s is attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew. The long-imagined south polar continent was called Terra Australis, sometimes shortened to'Australia' as seen in a woodcut illustration titled Sphere of the winds, contained in an astrological textbook published in Frankfurt in 1545.
Although the longer Latin phrase was better known, the shortened name Australia was used in Europe's scholarly circles. In the nineteenth century, the colonial authorities in Sydney removed the Dutch name from New Holland. Instead of inventing a new name to replace it, they took the name Australia from the south polar continent, leaving it nameless for some eighty years. During that period, geographers had to make do with clumsy phrases such as "the Antarctic Continent", they searched for a more poetic replacement, suggesting various names such as Antipodea. Antarctica was adopted in the 1890s. Antarctica has no indigenous population, there is no evidence that it was seen by humans until the 19th century. However, in February 1775, during his second voyage, Captain Cook called the existence of such a polar continent "probable" and in another copy of his journal he wrote:" believe it and it's more than probable that we have seen a part of it". However, belief in the existence of a Terra Australis—a vast continent in the far south of the globe to "balance" the northern lands of Europe and North Africa—had prevailed since the times of Ptolemy in the 1st century AD.
In the late 17th century, after explorers had found that South America and Australia were not part of the fabled "Antarctica", geographers believed that the continent was much larger than its actual size. Integral to the story of the origin of Antarctica's name is that it was not named Terra Australis—this name was given to Australia instead, because of the misconception that no significant landmass could exist further south. Explorer Matthew Flinders, in particular, has been credited with popularising the transfer of the name Terra Australis to Australia, he justified the titling of his book A Voyage to Terra Australis by writing in the introduction: There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will be found in a more southern latitude.
The Windmill Islands are an Antarctic group of rocky islands and rocks about 11.1 kilometres wide, paralleling the coast of Wilkes Land for 31.5 kilometres north of Vanderford Glacier along the east side of Vincennes Bay. Kirkby Shoal is a small shoal area with depths of less than 18 metres extending about 140 metres westwards and SSW, about 3.4 kilometres from the summit of Shirley Island, Windmill Islands, 0.24 kilometres NW of Stonehocker Point, Clark Peninsula. The Windmill Islands were mapped from aerial photographs taken by USN Operation Highjump, 1946-47. So named by the US-ACAN because personnel of Operation Windmill, 1947–48, landed on Holl Island at the southwest end of the group to establish ground control for USN Operation Highjump photographs; the term "Operation Windmill" is a popular expression which developed after the expedition disbanded and refers to the extensive use of helicopters made by this group. The official title of this expedition was the'Second Antarctic Development Project', U.
S. Navy Task Force 39, 1947–48; some of the main geographic features of the archipelago are: Austral Island Kilby Island Kirkby Shoal Larsen Bank McMullin Island Molholm Island Shirley Island Composite Antarctic Gazetteer List of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands List of Antarctic islands south of 60° S Newcomb Bay SCAR Territorial claims in Antarctica This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document "Windmill Islands"
Wilkes Land is a large district of land in eastern Antarctica, formally claimed by Australia as part of the Australian Antarctic Territory, though the validity of this claim has been placed for the period of the operation of the Antarctic Treaty, to which Australia is a signatory. It fronts on the southern Indian Ocean between Queen Mary Coast and Adelie Land, extending from Cape Hordern in 100°31' E to Pourquoi Pas Point, in 136°11' E; the region extends as a sector about 2600 km towards the South Pole, with an estimated land area of 2,600,000 km² glaciated. It is further subdivided in the following coastal areas which can be thought of as sectors extending to the South Pole: Knox Land: 100°31' E to 109°16' E Budd Land: 109°16' E to 115°33' E Sabrina Land: 115°33' E to 122°05' E Banzare Land: 122°05' E to 130°10' E Clarie Land: 130°10' E to 136°11' EIn a wider sense, Wilkes Land extends further East to Point Alden in 142°02' E, thereby including Adélie Land, claimed by France. Wilkes Land is named after Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, the American explorer who commanded the 1838–42 United States Exploring Expedition.
The naming is in recognition of Wilkes' discovery of the continental margin over a distance of 2,400 km of coast, thus providing substantial proof that Antarctica is a continent. This definition of extent excludes the area east of 142°02' E, George V Land, sighted by Wilkes but has been shown by expeditions to be further south than the positions assigned by him. In 2006 a team of researchers led by Ralph von Frese and Laramie Potts used gravity measurements by NASA's GRACE satellites to discover the 300-mile-wide Wilkes Land crater, which formed about 250 million years ago. Wilkes Land is featured prominently in the 1998 film The X-Files. Fox Mulder journeys to Antarctica to save his partner Dana Scully, being held there against her will. In the process, they discover a huge secret lab under the surface run by the Cigarette-Smoking Man. Adélie Valley