Talk:Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station

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August 2007 photo[edit]

I find the timing of this picture highly implausible. August is well within the Southern Hemisphere winter, and thus the sun surely would not be well above the horizon at the South Pole as per this picture. Canopus1968 (talk) 09:58, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Implausible indeed! The source of the photo was in a directory called 0708, which someone must have interpreted as 2007-August, but it was intended to be 2007-2008 summer, as indicated in the text on the source page. I updated the caption. StephenHudson (talk) 11:26, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Good catch... I posted the photo... but I interpreted the directory wrong. I'll update the Wikicommons description. Azoreg (talk) 22:28, 19 February 2009 (UTC)


I'm calling bullshit on sunrise and sunset once a year. I live in Alaska, and in Barrow there are only 60-70 days of no sunrise during the winter, around the winter solstice, and 60-70 days of no sunset during the summer, around the summer solstice. So, the time of year when there are "normal" sun cycles are around the equinoxes.

-David N. -Will check back for further discussion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:01, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Barrow is only 71° N, 19° south of the pole. As you move closer to the pole the periods of no sunrise/sunset get longer and longer, until right at the pole when each happens only once a year. Think about it, daily sunrises and sunsets happen because as the earth rotates, you eventually move around to where you are on the "back" of the earth (relative to the sun); at the poles though, you don't move as the earth rotates, you only rotate in place, so the sun just makes a circle over head during each 24 hours. The annual sunrise and sunset at the poles happen because of the tilt of the earth's axis and its motion around the sun, not because of the earth's rotation. StephenHudson (talk) 11:41, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Cool article[edit]

Cool article, thanks contributors! Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 11:23, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

You're welcome. It is a good article to chill at when in edit wars elsewhere :) Pakaran. 13:51, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I changed the main photo for several reasons:

  1. The focus of the previous photograph is the ceremonial pole rather than the station.
  2. The previous photo is already linked from the South Pole page.
  3. I find it to be a bit dreary.

The aerial photograph I replaced it with provides a good overall picture of the South Pole station geography and I think it should definately should be included somewhere in this page. It may not be suitable as a the main photo because the thumbnail is difficult to decipher. Perhaps it could eventually be moved farther into the article and replaced with a picture of the completed new station. JHG 04:32, 1 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Can someone correct the 74 deg celcius error? I'm guessing it was a bit colder than that during 1956/1957. Otherwise a great read, thanks. --Csnewton 16:18, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)


"Beginning in the mid 1980s, most seasonal (summer) South Pole personnel have been housed at a cluster of heated retrograde Korean war tents."

Somehow I doubt it is even possible to live in a tent at the south pole, and what is a retrograde tent? I'm not saying it doesn't happen, just that it seems incredible to the reader. This section of the article needs MUCH expanding and explanation IMHO. --Deglr6328 04:43, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

I'm glad you brought up the fact that some portions of this article are unclear/unbelievable. As far as heated tents being feasible living quarters at the Pole, let me assure you I stayed in such tents and they can actually be quite hot :) . Actually, the original explorers stayed in smaller non-heated tents. I've even heard that a few poor winteroverer's have stayed in summer camp. The retrograde term is maybe somewhat obscure-- it just indicates the tents were pulled from some previous useage. I'll get rid of it. As far as believability, do you have any specific suggestions on edits? JHG 08:03, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
Is there any special insulation or heating technique? Do the tent walls flap about in the wind? Is there an airlock type area to enter and exit the tent? These are the questions that I'm asking while trying to visualize living in a tent at the South pole  :) How awesome that you did. Is it mind expanding or just boring after a while? --noösfractal 08:11, 23 August 2005 (UTC)
Haven't lived in a tent on the South Pole (yet), but have some experience living in a tent in cold conditions (-30/-40 deg. C.), and it's fully possible, as long as some precautions are taken. Basically, you want to pack snow up against the tent walls, and to help insulate from the wind (as tents have a tendency to be a bit drafty). In addition, this also helps to insulate against the cold (same principle as with Igloos). bjelleklang 03:22, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the specific suggestions. I hope the edits I just made (as an IP) addressed these thoughts. You got it pretty much on: mind expanding then boring. It also seems to make one feel/act a little weird after a while as people who have stayed there a lot longer than I have would probably attest to. JHG 13:22, 13 September 2005 (UTC)
South pole jamesway.jpg
Here's a photo of one of the Jamesway tents in summer camp. --Amble (talk) 23:15, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Weather: Highs and lows in the article accurate?[edit]

I just visited the link for the weather at the station at the bottom of the article, and it says that the high temperature is going to be 17° F on both this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. However, the articles says that the record high is −13.6° C (7.52° F) and low is −82.8° C (−117° F).

Sunday: Overcast. High: -3° F / -19° C Wind SE 29 mph / 46 km/h
Sunday Night: Overcast. Low: -5° F / -21° C Wind ESE 29 mph / 46 km/h
Monday: Overcast. High: -6° F / -21° C Wind SE 24 mph / 39 km/h
Monday Night: Clear. Low: -5° F / -21° C Wind SE 15 mph / 25 km/h
Tuesday: Partly Cloudy. High: 17° F / -8° C Wind East 24 mph / 39 km/h
Tuesday Night: Partly Cloudy. Low: -4° F / -20° C Wind SSE 22 mph / 36 km/h
Wednesday: Overcast. High: 17° F / -8° C Wind South 33 mph / 54 km/h
Wednesday Night:Overcast. Low: -25° F / -32° C Wind SW 29 mph / 46 km/h
Thursday: Overcast. High: -7° F / -22° C Wind SW 11 mph / 18 km/h

Is the weather site wrong, the article wrong, or are these really higher that previously recorded temperatures (perhaps global warming...)?

Thanks, BCorr|Брайен 02:03, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Station drift[edit]

"It currently lies within 100 meters (330 feet) from the Geographic South Pole, and drifts towards the pole at the rate of about 10 meters per year."

Does the station drift towards the pole, or does the pole drift towards the station? If it's the former, does it drift on its own, together with the ice pack, or does the continent drift as a whole?--Itinerant1 22:14, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Geographic poles do not drift, magnetic ones do. The artificial geographic pole marker (striped barber pole) drifts due to the station being located on an ice cap, which is a huge glacier slowly working its way towards the ocean. Continental drift occurs at a speed much too slow to make a noticeable difference over 50-100 years. Even seismically active locations such as Baja California or Vancouver Island drift at less than 1cm/year. Thewalrus 22:28, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Also, based on these numbers, it would now be 10 meters on the other side of the pole. Jxmorris 18:56, 4 December 2016 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jxmorris (talkcontribs)

Snow accumulation[edit]

In the intro, it says "Snow accumulation is about...3 in/yr." Yet under the Elevated Station, it says "In a location that receives 8 inches of snow per year...". Well, which is it? --MPD01605 00:19, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Modern Marvels episode (see references) says 8 inches. Cburnett 00:32, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Different again, South Pole says 0.1 inches of precipitation per year (source Weatherbase). Possibly there is an issue here between actual precipitation versus wind-blown accumulation. Ideally this should be clarified in the respective articles.
Well, I just tweaked the wording.

food supply/agriculture[edit]

I feel that the food supply/agriculture must be mentioned. I know that the station has a small hydroponics unit for a start. I've already located the record of the memorandum about the hydroponics unit, and would appreciate someone with better qualifications than I writing about it. --Iamdalto 02:51, 14 May 2006 (UTC)


The article mentions "isolated". Does that mean isolated from outside world or from each other? --Voidvector 15:43, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Think about it a bit more then. You'll get there :) Gwen Gale 21:48, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Self sufficent?[edit]

The article states this: "The station is completely self-sufficient, and powered by three generators running on JP-8 jet fuel."

If they require restocked jet fuel, doesn't that make them not self-sufficient? If they were wind or solar powered you could claim that I'd think, but not if you have to have jet fuel shipped in from somewhere else. --BHC (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 03:38, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

They are self-sufficient only in the winter, when it is impossible to travel to the base. They are resupplied with a lot of stuff every summer. -- (talk) 20:56, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Any photographs of the old station?[edit]

I think this would be helpful here (talk) 03:51, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

South Pole in photos?[edit]

Am I to understand that that "barber pole" marker in the photos nominally marks the position of the actual South Pole? (Allowing for the normal factors that cause the position of the South Pole to vary.)
If so, I think we should mention this, for example in the photo captions. -- (talk) 01:01, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

No, the "barber pole" is the ceremonial pole, which moves around from time to time just for convenient access. Not too far away is a smaller marker with a sign, which is placed at the current geographic pole on Jan. 1 of each year. --Amble (talk) 00:22, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Greenhouse in winter[edit]

"The greenhouse is the only source of fresh fruit and vegetables during the winter." They get enough sunlight in the winter for this, or use artificial "grow lights"? -- (talk) 01:08, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

They use artificial light; there is no sunlight from April through August. I don't know where the greenhouse is in the new station, but in the old station (the dome) it was in a windowless room under the dome, so even in summer it needed to rely on artificial light. StephenHudson (talk) 09:08, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Also a windowless room, inside the elevated station building. The lighting is completely artificial, with a simulated day-night cycle as required by some of the plants. The growth room is not only intended to provide vegetables for the station, it's an experimental project in its own right. The people who designed and run it are working on techniques for setting up similar self-contained growth chambers in other isolated places like an underground moon station. In order to get the scientific results they want, they keep pretty tight control over water flow, nutrient input, and lighting. For example, it's important to know what fraction of the total energy input gets converted to food calories. --Amble (talk) 17:50, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Actual location of the station[edit]

The station is not on the south pole, as close as it is. What is the longitude of the station, thus determining which national claim it might fall within if such claims ever became permanent and recognized? Every 30.864 metres is a second of latitude, so if the center of the building is 92.6 metres from the actual pole (I don't know exactly how far it is - I just dropped in that figure), the latitude of the station would in fact be 89 degrees, 59 minutes, 57 seconds South Latitude. GBC (talk) 15:02, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

The station is not a single building, but a complex in the vicinity of the geographic pole. The geographic pole is within about 20m of one end of the main elevated station building, while the building is much larger than this, so that it covers a wide range of latitudes from one end to the other. Other buildings are in different directions, although none are directly to grid north (the non-governmental activities skiway is in that direction). The position of the geographic pole relative to the buildings changes significantly every year as the glacier moves, and within a few years the pole will be within or very near the location of the former South Pole dome. Some part of the station complex undoubtedly overlaps with each of the territorial claims (except the Norwegian claim, which doesn't extend to the pole) in a way that changes over time. --Amble (talk) 17:34, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Images....need editing[edit]

They are just randomly placed throughout the article with no thought to the text or section they are in. Images are good but when the text is about the station use an aerial (the whole) not a picture of the entrance or bury a great aerial shot at the bottom of the page. Or when the "dome" is mentioned there are no images of the dome.

Articles that have intelligent images are stronger than well written articles with a random selection of pictures that do little to help the reader understand the text.

My suggestion is either marry the right images with the correct sections, or place the images in chronological order. Don't just have them in a random sequence or because they "look good". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:16, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Renee Nicole Doucer[edit]

The section of Renee Nicole Doucer contains the following:

Douceur was evacuated on October 17 on a cargo flight that had cargo intended for the other residents of the base removed to make space for her, a doctor and an escort.

This assertion is entirely unsourced. None of the three sources for that paragraph say anything about cargo needing to be removed. Unless I am missing something, it doesn't even make any sense. Cargo is shipped to the station. Doucer was evacuated from the station. "To" and "from" are two different events. The statement in question is saying that cargo that was to be dropped off at the station had to be removed (i.e. dropped off) so there was room for the people on the return trip. Why would you fly cargo to a destination if you weren't already planning to remove it from the plane?

I don't want to change it because I concede that I may be missing something here. If that is the case, it means this sentence needs to be revised to actually make sense. Primium mobile (talk) 13:46, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Never mind, I changed it. I can't think of any way that statement could possibly make any sense. Primium mobile (talk) 21:22, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
It's because the flight had to bring in a doctor and another medical escort to accompany Douceur on the return flight. The cargo had to be left in McMurdo or elsewhere to make room for the two extra people on the flight to the South Pole. --Amble (talk) 15:35, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
Then it should have said that cargo had to be removed to allow space for two people: a doctor and an escort. There was no need to make space for Doucer until the return flight. I'm not even sure why that statement was relevant to the narrative. Primium mobile (talk) 19:00, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Geographic south pole sign[edit]

In the article there is a picture of the geographic south pole sign that has only the US flag shown ( I wanted to ask if there shouldn't aslo be a Norwagian flag from historical reasons as is shown on newer pictures. Im not sure because i pointed this out a while ago but the change was undone.

If there indeed should be a Norwegian flag, please, repair this article. New image is available here: . — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:31, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Ice thickness[edit]

Ice thickness is stated wrong in this article: The station stands at an elevation of 2,835 meters (9,301 ft) on the interior of Antarctica's nearly featureless ice sheet, which is about 2,850 meters (9,350 ft) thick at that location. The reference for this section says: The station stands at an elevation of 2,835 meters (9,306 feet) on Antarctica's nearly featureless ice sheet, which is about 2,700 meters (9,000 feet) thick at that location. The station, which is 850 nautical miles south of McMurdo Station, is drifting with the ice sheet at about 10 meters (33 feet) each year. Somebody obviuosly did a copy&paste, but it seems the ice thickness was corrected since then. I corrected it and Benfxmth reversed my edit to reinstate the error. While logic in my description was wrong, as netherlands show that you can actually can be over land when below zero elevation, my correction was still valid as it matches the reference. I suggest to undo the undo to correct the false value again.Christoph194 (talk) 11:02, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

You are correct; I've reinstated your edit (well, the edit by the IP, which I assume is you). --Floquenbeam (talk) 01:12, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Foucault pendulum 2001[edit]

The somewhat science fair project of a Foucault pendulum (in the stair case "beer can") is still mentioned in the List but should be mentioned here, too, as it is a special place (one of the two most effective ones, the poles) and the set is well understood by many people. My contribution of 19th Nov. 2014 has been reverted these days. Experiment happened in south-winter (means: darkness outside), not north-winter, as the article has been written Oct. 2001. --Helium4 (talk) 17:48, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Taking the high road first, two points. First, there's simply no way to justify having the pendulum in a list of astrophysics projects, which is where it was. And second, while the South Pole may be important to the concept of the pendulum, and that may justify mention of the South Pole on the pendulum pages, the pendulum is completely unimportant to the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, so it's hard to justify it being talked about here. There are plenty of far more important science projects that have been or are at the Pole that are unmentioned or barely mentioned on this page. The most important seismic recording site is at Pole, and it's important in part for exactly the same reason that the pendulum is, that there are no rotational modes to deal with, and, unlike the pendulum, it's STILL at the Pole, but it's not mentioned. Lots of auroral and magnetospheric instruments have been at the Pole for decades and are not mentioned. The cleanest air in the world is sampled at the Pole: not mentioned. The only ozone balloons launched directly into the ozone hole are from the Pole: not mentioned. My point is that to take a single, somewhat dubious, experiment of almost 15 years ago and highlight it in an article that's about the station, not the science at the station, makes no sense at all.

On the lower road, and the reason I said "science fair", if you read the description and results of the pendulum, it's not exactly journal-level research. There are no actual data points, just a rather bizarre account of working toward the final answer, which of course was already known before the project was initiated, and is then simply presented. With an enormous error bar on it. It's funny that in the "talk" page on pendulums, someone wonders if the period recorded was 24 hours or 23.93 hours (a sidereal day). Kind of hard to answer that when your result is +/- 50 minutes! (talk) 05:03, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

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