Dome A

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Dome A
Dome Argus
Dome A is located in Antarctica
Dome A
Dome A
Elevation 4,091 m (13,422 ft)[1]
Prominence 1,639 m (5,377 ft)[1]
Listing Ultra
Coordinates 80°22′S 77°21′E / 80.367°S 77.350°E / -80.367; 77.350Coordinates: 80°22′S 77°21′E / 80.367°S 77.350°E / -80.367; 77.350[1]

Dome A or Dome Argus is an ice dome on the Antarctic Plateau, located 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) inland. It is thought to be the coldest naturally occurring place on Earth, with temperatures of near −90 °C (−130 °F). It is the highest ice feature in Antarctica, consisting of a dome or eminence 4,091 metres (13,422 ft) elevation above sea level. It is located near the center of East Antarctica, approximately midway between the head of Lambert Glacier and the South Pole, within the Australian claim.


Dome Argus is located on the massive East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and is the highest ice feature of Antarctica.[2] Dome A is a plain and the elevation visually is not noticeable. Below Dome A underneath at least 2,400 m (7,900 ft) of ice sheet is the Gamburtsev Mountain Range.

The name "Dome Argus" was given by the Scott Polar Research Institute from Greek mythology; Argus built the ship in which Jason and the Argonauts traveled.

This site is one of the driest locations on Earth and receives 1 to 3 cm (0.39 to 1.18 in) of snow per year. Due to this, as well as calm weather, this site is an excellent location to obtain ice core samples for the research of past climates.[3] Temperatures at Dome A fall below −80 °C (−112 °F) almost every winter, while in summer it rarely exceeds −10 °C (14 °F).


Details of the morphology of this feature were determined by the SPRI-NSF-TUD airborne radio echo sounding program between the years 1967 and 1979.

In January 2005 a team from the Chinese National Antarctic Research Expeditions (CHINARE) traversed 1,228 km (763 mi) from Zhongshan Station to Dome A and located the highest point of the ice sheet (4,093 m (13,428 ft) above sea level) by GPS survey at 80°22’S 77°21’E on Jan 18. This point is near one end of an elongate ridge (about 60 km (37 mi) long and 10 km (6.2 mi) wide) which is a major ice divide and has an elevation difference along its length of only a few meters. An automatic weather station (AWS) was deployed at Dome A, and a second station was installed approximately half way between the summit and the coast at a site called Eagle (76°25'S, 77°01'E, 2830 m above sea level). These AWS are operated as part of an ongoing collaboration between China and Australia which also includes a third AWS (LGB69) at 70°50'S, 77°04'E, 1,854 m (6,083 ft) above sea level which has operated since January 2002. Station at Dome A is powered by solar cells and diesel fuel and requires yearly service and refuelling.[3]

The coldest air temperature recorded by thermometer at Dome A since January 2005 thus far (as of 28 September 2010) was in July 2005: −82.5 °C (−116.5 °F). The lowest air temperature (−93.2 °C (−135.8 °F)) ever measured on the surface of the earth was recorded by satellite on August 10, 2010 between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji.[4] Analysis of satellite data and atmospheric models shows that Ridge A which is located 144 km (89 mi) south-east from Dome A is potentially an even better location to look for the lowest temperatures on Earth.[5]


The Polar Research Institute of China deployed a robotic observatory called PLATO (PLATeau Observatory) on the dome in January 2008.[6] PLATO was designed and built by the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia to provide a platform from which astronomical observations and site-testing could be conducted.[7] Various institutions from Australia, US, China and the UK provided instruments that were deployed with PLATO, these instruments included CSTAR, Gattini, PreHEAT, Snodar, Nigel and the PLATO web cameras.

The Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Sciences [1] established a wireless network technology based observation system called DomeA-WSN on the dome in January 2008.[8]

The Kunlun Station, China's third Station in Antarctica, was set up at the dome on January 27, 2009.[9] Thus far the Antarctic Kunlun Station is suitable as a summer station, but there are plans to develop it further and build an airfield nearby to ease servicing, as it is not reachable by helicopters.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Antarctica Ultra-Prominences" Retrieved 2012-09-05.
  2. ^ "Dome A". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2013-03-11. 
  3. ^ a b c "Dome A – coldest place on Earth". Wondermondo. 
  4. ^ "NASA-USGS Landsat 8 Satellite Pinpoints Coldest Spots on Earth". 
  5. ^ Saunders, Will; Lawrence, Jon S.; Storey, John W. V.; Ashley, Michael C. B.; Kato, Seiji; Minnis, Patrick; Winker, David M.; Liu, Guiping & Kulesa, Craig (2009). "Where Is the Best Site on Earth? Domes A, B, C, and F, and Ridges A and B". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 121 (883): 976–992. arXiv:0905.4156. Bibcode:2009PASP..121..976S. doi:10.1086/605780{{inconsistent citations}} 
  6. ^ "International team establishes unique observatory in Antarctica". 2008-02-03. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  7. ^ "PLATO – Dome A robotic observatory". UNSW. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  8. ^ "中国科考队在南极Dome-A成功安装无线传感器网络". 2008-06-30. Retrieved 30 November 2008. 
  9. ^ "China sets up 3rd Antarctic research station". 2009-01-28. Retrieved 28 January 2009. 

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