Coast Guard icebreakers are always a welcome site at McMurdo Station, situated just 850 nautical miles from the South Pole on Ross Island. The main U.S. station in Antarctica, it was constructed in 1956 in the prelude to research conducted across the continent by 12 nations in 1958, the International Geophysical Year. These nations later signed the Antarctic Treaty that stipulates free exchange of research results-and that no country may claim Antarctica, install military fortifications, or detonate nuclear bombs there. The continent now is the subject of a variety of research from geology to astrophysics. The photo on the facing page illustrates the strange beauty of the landscape as ice sculptures formed by the wind frame 12,000-foot Mt. Erebus, the world's southernmost volcano.
Servicing Science Near the South Pole
By William Sutton