Antarctic Treaty System
The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively known as the Antarctic Treaty System, regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude; the treaty entered into force in 1961 and has 53 parties. The treaty sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation, bans military activity on the continent; the treaty was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. Since September 2004, the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat headquarters has been located in Buenos Aires, Argentina; the main treaty was opened for signature on December 1, 1959, entered into force on June 23, 1961. The original signatories were the 12 countries active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year of 1957–58; the twelve countries that had significant interests in Antarctica at the time were: Argentina, Belgium, France, New Zealand, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States.
These countries had established over 55 Antarctic stations for the IGY. The treaty was a diplomatic expression of the operational and scientific co-operation, achieved "on the ice". Article I1. Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only. There shall be prohibited, inter alia, any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military maneuvers, as well as the testing of any type of weapons. 2. The present treaty shall not prevent the use of military personnel or equipment for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes. Article IIFreedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation toward that end, as applied during the International Geophysical Year, shall continue, subject to the provisions of the present treaty. Article III1. In order to promote international cooperation in scientific investigation in Antarctica, as provided for in Article II of the present treaty, the Contracting Parties agree that, to the greatest extent feasible and practicable: information regarding plans for scientific programs in Antarctica shall be exchanged to permit maximum economy and efficiency of operations.
2. In implementing this Article, every encouragement shall be given to the establishment of cooperative working relations with those Specialized Agencies of the United Nations and other international organizations having a scientific or technical interest in Antarctica. Article IV1. Nothing contained in the present treaty shall be interpreted as: a renunciation by any Contracting Party of asserted rights of or claims to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica. 2. No acts or activities taking place while the present treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica. No new claim, or enlargement of an existing claim, to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica shall be asserted while the present treaty is in force. Article V1. Any nuclear explosions in Antarctica and the disposal there of radioactive waste material shall be prohibited. 2. In the event of the conclusion of international agreements concerning the use of nuclear energy, including nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste material, to which all of the Contracting Parties whose representatives are entitled to participate in the meetings provided for under Article IX are parties, the rules established under such agreements shall apply in Antarctica.
Article VIThe provisions of the present treaty shall apply to the area south of 60 degree South Latitude, including all ice shelves, but nothing in the present treaty shall prejudice or in any way affect the rights, or the exercise of the rights, of any State under international law with regard to the high seas within that area. Article VII1. In order to promote the objectives and ensure the observance of the provisions of the present treaty, each Contracting Party whose representatives are entitled to participate in the meetings referred to in Article IX of the treaty shall have the right to designate observers to carry out any inspection provided for by the present Article. Observers shall be nationals of the Contracting Parties; the names of observers shall be communicated to every other Contracting Party having the right to designate observers, like notice shall be given of the termination of their appointment. 2. Each observer designated in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article shall have complete freedom of access at any time to any or all areas of Antarctica.
3. All areas of Antarctica, including all stations and equipment within those areas, all ships and aircraft at points of discharging or embarking cargoes or personnel in Antarctica, shall be open at all times to inspection by any observers designated in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article. 4. Aerial observation may be carried ou
Operation Highjump titled The United States Navy Antarctic Developments Program, 1946–1947, was a United States Navy operation organized by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Jr. USN, Officer in Charge, Task Force 68, led by Rear Admiral Richard H. Cruzen, USN, Commanding Officer, Task Force 68. Operation Highjump commenced 26 August 1946 and ended in late February 1947. Task Force 68 included 4,700 men, 13 ships, 33 aircraft. Operation Highjump's primary mission was to establish the Antarctic research base Little America IV. Highjump's objectives, according to the U. S. Navy report of the operation, were: Training personnel and testing equipment in frigid conditions; the Western Group of ships reached the Marquesas Islands on December 12, 1946, whereupon the Henderson and Cacapon set up weather monitoring stations. By December 24, the Currituck had begun launching aircraft on reconnaissance missions; the Eastern Group of ships reached Peter I Island in late December 1946. On January 1, 1947, Lieutenant Commander Thompson and Chief Petty Officer Dixon utilized "Jack Browne" masks and DESCO Oxygen rebreathers to log the first dive by Americans under the Antarctic.
Paul Allman Siple, Ph. D. was the senior U. S. War Department representative on the expedition. Dr. Siple was the same Eagle Scout who accompanied Admiral Byrd on the previous Byrd Antarctic expeditions; the Central Group of ships reached the Bay of Whales on January 15, 1947, where they began construction of Little America IV. Naval ships and personnel were withdrawn back to the United States in late February 1947, the expedition was terminated due to the early approach of winter and worsening weather conditions. Admiral Byrd discussed the lessons learned from the operation in an interview with Lee van Atta of International News Service held aboard the expedition's command ship the USS Mount Olympus; the interview appeared in the Wednesday, March 5, 1947 edition of the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio and read in part as follows: Admiral Richard E. Byrd warned today that the United States should adopt measures of protection against the possibility of an invasion of the country by hostile planes coming from the polar regions.
The admiral explained that he was not trying to scare anyone, but the cruel reality is that in case of a new war, the United States could be attacked by planes flying over one or both poles. This statement was made as part of a recapitulation of his own polar experience, in an exclusive interview with International News Service. Talking about the completed expedition, Byrd said that the most important result of his observations and discoveries is the potential effect that they have in relation to the security of the United States; the fantastic speed with which the world is shrinking – recalled the admiral – is one of the most important lessons learned during his recent Antarctic exploration. I have to warn my compatriots that the time has ended when we were able to take refuge in our isolation and rely on the certainty that the distances, the oceans, the poles were a guarantee of safety. After the operation ended, a follow-up Operation Windmill returned to the area in order to provide ground-truthing to the aerial photography of Highjump from 1947-1948.
Finn Ronne financed a private operation to the same territory until 1948. As with other U. S. Antarctic expeditions, interested persons were allowed to send letters with enclosed envelopes to the base, where commemorative cachets were added to their enclosures, which were returned to the senders; these souvenir philatelic covers are available at low cost. It is estimated that at least 150,000 such envelopes were produced, though their final number may be higher. On December 30, 1946, aviation radiomen Wendell K. Hendersin, Fredrick W. Williams, Ensign Maxwell A. Lopez were killed when their Martin PBM Mariner George 1 crashed during a blizzard; the surviving six crew members were rescued 13 days including aviation radioman James H. Robbins and co-pilot William Kearns. A plaque honoring the three killed crewmen was erected at the McMurdo Station research base, Mount Lopez on Thurston Island was named in honor of killed airman Maxwell A. Lopez. In December 2004, an attempt was made to locate the remains of the plane.
There are ongoing efforts to repatriate the bodies of the three men killed in the crash. On January 21, 1947, Vance N. Woodall died during a "ship unloading accident". In a crew profile, deckman Edward Beardsley described his worst memory as "when Seaman Vance Woodall died on the Ross Ice Shelf under a piece of roller equipment designed to'pave' the ice to build an airstrip." Task Force 68Rear Admiral Richard H. Cruzen, USN, Commanding Eastern Group Capt. George J. Dufek, USN, Commanding Seaplane Tender USS Pine Island. Capt. Henry H. Caldwell, USN, Commanding Destroyer USS Brownson. Cdr. H. M. S. Gimber, USN, Commanding Tanker USS Canisteo. Capt. Edward K. Walker, USN, CommandingWestern Group Capt. Charles A. Bond, USN, Co
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
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
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research is an interdisciplinary body of the International Council for Science. It was established in February 1958 to continue the international coordination of Antarctic scientific activities that had begun during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58. SCAR is charged with the initiating and coordinating of scientific research in the Antarctic region; the scientific business of SCAR is conducted by its Standing Scientific Groups. SCAR provides scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings and other organizations on issues of science and conservation affecting the management of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. In that role, SCAR has made numerous recommendations on a variety of matters few of which have been incorporated into Antarctic Treaty instruments. SCAR meets every two years to conduct its administrative business at the SCAR Delegates Meeting. An executive committee elected from the delegates is responsible for the day-to-day administration of SCAR through its secretariat at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, England.
The executive committee comprises four vice-presidents. The SCAR Secretariat is staffed by the executive director, executive officer and an administrative assistant. SCAR holds, prior to the delegates meeting, a major open science conference to draw attention to Antarctic issues, along with meetings of the standing scientific groups that are designed to finalize the science programmes for eventual approval by the delegates. In 2002 SCAR received the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation. Since 2006, SCAR has awarded three medals biennially in recognition of excellence in Antarctic and Southern Ocean research and outstanding service to the international Antarctic community. There is one medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research, one for International Scientific Coordination, the SCAR President's medal for Outstanding Achievement. Presentations are made at the SCAR Open Science Conference and are intended to reward those who exemplify the best of the Antarctic community and serve as role models for the next generation.
Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica Anna Wåhlin, committee co-chair Official website
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
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