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Little America (exploration base)

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Title: Little America (exploration base)  
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Subject: United States Antarctic Program, Byrd Station, With Byrd at the South Pole, Skagway, Alaska, List of Antarctic expeditions
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Little America (exploration base)

Map showing locations of Little America I, II, III, and IV

Little America was a series of Antarctic exploration bases, located on the Ross Ice Shelf, south of the Bay of Whales.

The coordinates are approximate.

Little America I

The first base in the series was established in January 1929 by Richard Byrd,[1] and was abandoned in 1930.[2] This was where the film With Byrd at the South Pole (1930) was filmed, about Byrd's trip to the South Pole.

Little America II

Byrd Antarctic Expedition II cover, Jan. 30, 1935

Little America II was established in 1934, some 30 feet above the site of the original base, with some of the original base accessed via tunnel.[1][2] This base was briefly set adrift in 1934, but the iceberg fused to the main glacier.[2]

During the 1934–1935 expedition, many souvenir letters were sent from Little America, using a commemorative postage stamp issued by the U.S. government. Little America established the first successful radio broadcasting from Antarctica, making regular broadcasts that could be picked up by household radio sets in the United States, more than 11,000 miles away around the Earth's curvature.

In a later expedition to Antarctica, Byrd's expedition spotted Little America's towers still standing, including the Jacobs Wind plant installed in 1933.[3][note 1]

Little America III

Little America III was established for the 1940–1941 season some 6 miles to the north.

In 1940 a huge, extraordinary, exploration vehicle, the Antarctic Snow Cruiser, was brought to Little America III. Unfortunately the vehicle was found to have a number of design and technical weaknesses and was little used. Abandoned, it became buried in the snow. It was last rediscovered in 1958, but has subsequently been lost once again: either under the snow; or under the waters of the Southern Ocean.

The site of Little America III was carried to sea in 1963.[1][4]

Little America IV

Little America IV

Little America IV was established in 1946–1947.[2]

Little America V

Little America V was established on January 3, 1956, at Kainan Bay, some 30 miles to the east of Little America IV, as part of Operation Deep Freeze.[5] Little America V served as the American base in the South Polar program in the International Geophysical Year.[5] Little America V was constructed by US Navy Seabees in the three month window before the Antarctic winter makes construction next to impossible. All of Little American V was constructed below the snow line in the ice, with individual living quarters, generator room, cafeteria, and with ramps leading out at one end for tracked vehicles. This type of construction meant that none of those staying in Little America V had to go out of door in the harsh winter when going from one section to another or the Antarctic town.[6]

The site of Little America V went to sea on Iceberg B-9 in 1987.[7]

See also


  1. ^ The information in this paragraph is somewhat inconsistent with other information in the article (on 2013-06-19):
    This paragraph says that the Jacobs Wind plant was installed in 1933. The section on Little America I, however, says that that base was abandoned in 1930, while the section on Little America II (this section) says that that base was only established in 1934. Was the Jacobs Wind plant installed independently of any of the bases?


  1. ^ a b c "Antarctica's Little America Floating Away on Iceberg". Eugene Register-Guard. June 8, 1963. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Little America Will Float Away on an Iceberg". Eugene Register-Guard. April 1958. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 
  3. ^ Wind Energy in AmericaRobert Righter, , p.95
  4. ^ Scambos, Ted; Novak (2005).  
  5. ^ a b "Little America is Dedicated". Ludington Daily News. January 3, 1956. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Seabees Build A Town." Popular Mechanics, June 1956, pp. 89-94.
  7. ^ "The calving and drift of iceberg B-9 in the Ross Sea, Antarctica". Antarctic Science. 1990. Retrieved December 14, 2009. 

External links

  • , 1929Winds at Little AmericaPaper by CE Palmer, RNZAF on
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