Antarctic Timeline

by Mike Subritzky
Copyright ©  2003 - 2014


This timeline should be considered a work in progress and is dedicated to the Courage, Sacrifice and Devotion of all of those brave and hardy Adventurers who passed through the gateway to the bottom of the world by crossing the Antarctic Circle at 60°S. Those men and women who entered that great southern land of icebergs, icicles, blizzards, white-outs and myriad snowflakes in the Kingdom of Australis Rex, Ruler of the Southern Winds, and Sovereign of all the Frozen Reaches.  It is especially dedicated to those who lost their lives.

200 Million Years BC:    
Gondwanaland breaks from the Global super-continent of "Pangea" which is thought to be made up of Antarctica, Africa, India, South America and Australia. 

50 Million Years BC:     
The Antarctic Continent assumes South Polar orientation and is isolated by the Southern Oceans. 

20 Million Years BC:
In Antarctica a geologic basin formed during a tectonic upheaval that later led to the formation of the sub-glacial Lake Vostok.

16 Million Years BC:
A huge asteroid hit Mars and blasted rock into space about this time. The 1984 meteorite labeled Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 was knocked into space and landed in Antarctica around 11,000BC.

2 Million Years BC    
Last rainfall occurs in the Dry Valleys.

1 Million Years BC:
Lake Vostok was formed about this time. In 1999 it was about 12,000 feet below the ice surface and was about the size of Lake Ontario. Scientists discovered living bacteria and theorized that the lake was warmed either by hot magma beneath the Earth's crust or by the downward pressure of ice.

11,000 Year BC:
A meteorite from Mars (ALH 84001), discovered in 1984, landed in Antarctica. Scientists in 1996 claimed to have found evidence of organic minerals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, in the meteorite that formed some 3.6 billion years ago.

600 Years BC     
Ancient Greeks calculate and determine the spherical shape of Earth, they theorise that a great southern landmass must exist that ballances the known landmass in Northern Hemisphere. This supposed continent is named Antarctos (opposite of the Great She Bear - Constellation Ursa Major). 

600 AD     
A Polynesian legend exists that a Chief named Ui-Te-Rangiora sailed the waka (canoe) 'Te-Ivi-O-Atea' deep into the Southern Oceans to "a place of bitter cold where rock-like objects rise directly out of a solid ocean".  This is thought to describe Antarctica. 

1501
The Florentine seaman Amerigo Vespucci makes the first long voyage along the South American coastline, sailing as far as 50 South.  A forged letter later suggests that Vespucci reached South Georgia

1519
Ferdinand Magellan leaves Spain with instruments to follow the coastline of South America and find a western sea route to the Indies.  Sailing down the coast he finds a narrow strait that now bears his name and passes through into the Pacific Ocean.  To the south stretches Tierra del Fuego which geographers soon seize on as the edge of the long-sought-after southern continent.  Magellan continues westwards across the Pacific and although he is killed in the Philippines, one of his ships completes the first circumnavigation of the globe

1522
March 18: Nouvelle Amsterdam Island is discovered by the Portuguese explorer Sebastien Del Cano, who assumes command of the 'Victoria' after the death of Ferdinand Magellan in the Philippines on 27 April 1521.

1531
Orance Fine (Orontius) publishes his map of the world - typical of the time - showing Tierra del Fuego as the northern tip of an immense southern continent centred on the South Pole 

1578
Sir Francis Drake becomes the first European to enter the Southern Oceans after the 'Golden Hind' is driven south of Tierra del Fuego by storms. Although he does not view Antarctica on this voyage, it proves that South America is not connected to "Terra Australis Incognita," (The Unknown Southern Land).  

1587    
Flightless seabirds discovered in the Southern Oceans are named Penguins by the English Buccaneer Thomas Cavendish aboard the 'Desire' during his voyage of circumnavigation.  

1603    
The Dutch ship 'Blijde Bootschap' is captured by pirates and blown far into the Southern Oceans. One captive later tells of being at South 64°S and sighting a bleak island.
(Thought to be a description of South Shetland Island). 

1700    
An Iceberg is sighted by Captain Edmond Halley and entered in the logbook of the 'Paramore'. 

1738/39    
January 1: French sea captain Lieutenant Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier of the Compagnie des Indes sails below 60°S in command of the ships 'Aigle' and 'Marie', in search of new French lands. On the 1st January 1739, a very high land, covered with snow, which appeared through mist which he names Bouvet Island. It is the only land within 20 degrees west and 90 degrees east.

1772
January 24: French Navigator Captain Marion du Fresne of the Frigate 'Le Mascarin' discovers and names the Crozet Islands. The Islands are named after his second in command, Lieutenant Jules Crozet. Captain du Fresne and 26 of his men are later killed and eaten by Maori when he visits New Zealand.

February 13: A French knight named Yves de Kerguélen de Trémadec, commanding two ships, the 'Fortune' and the 'Gros-Ventre', discovers an island beyond 40°S latitude. He names it Kerguélen Island.

1773    
January 7: The first crossing of the Antarctic Circle by the ships 'HMS Resolution' and 'HMS Adventure', commanded by Captain James Cook RN. Cook crosses the Antarctic Circle three times during this voyage of discovery. He rediscovers, names, and makes the first landing on South Georgia, and also discovers all but three northerly islands in the South Sandwich Islands.  Cook sails to south 71° 10'S.

1801    
Captain Edmund Fanning  of the Yankee Sealer 'Catherine' harvests 57,000 fur seal skins from a single voyage to South Georgia. 

1819 - 1821
Antarctica is circumnavigated by the Russian explorer Admiral Thaddeus von Bellingshausen with the ships 'Vostock' and 'Mirnye'.  He sails as far as 69° 21'S, 2° 14'W and discovers Peter I Island at 68°51'S. He also names the Antarctic Peninsula Palmer's Land.

1819
October 14: Captain William Smith discovers the South Shetlands. First confirmed sighting of land South of 60ºS

1820
December 5: Nathaniel Palmer completes cruise around Livingston Island

1821
Antarctic Continent is sighted by Captain Edward Bransfield RN aboard 'HMS William'. He charts and names the South Shetlands.

1820
The Royal Navy sends Edward Bramsfield to investigate the reported discovery of the South Shetland 's.  With William Smith as pilot, Bramsfield reaches the islands and continues south.  He is the first to see the Antarctic peninsula.  His midsipman, Bone, records 'the only cheer the sight afforded was the idea that this might be the long sought after southern continent'

1820
December 5: Antarctic Peninsula is sighted by Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer, aboard the Yankee Sealer 'Hero'. Also onboard the ship is seaman Peter Harvey, he is the first black man to sail to Antarctica. Nathaniel Palmer completes cruise around Livingston Island

1821
First recorded Antarctic winter spent on land below 60°S. Eleven men of the sealer "Lord Melville", remain on King George Island, South Shetlands. 

1821
First landing on the Antarctic Continent by members of the ship's company aboard the Yankee Sealers 'Huron', 'Huntress' and 'Cecilia', commanded by Captain John Davis. They land at Hughes Bay.

1822/24
Sealing Captain James Weddell discovers the Weddell Sea aboard his ships the 'Jane' and cutter 'Beafoy'. He first charts the South Orkney Islands, then sails south into the Weddell Sea reaching 74°15'S 34°16'W. 

1830/32
Sealer John Biscoe of Enderby Brothers Company (England), aboard with the brig 'Tula' and cutter 'Lively', sights and charts parts of "Enderbyland", which he names after his employers.  The 'Lively' is lost and the expedition returns with few seals and the crew suffering from scurvy.

1833/34
Searching for new sealing grounds Captain Peter Kemp, of the Enderby Brothers Company in the 'Magnet', discovers an easterly extension of Enderby Land, which he names Kemp Land. John Balleny and H. Freeman, in theships 'Eliza Scott' and 'Sabrina', discover the Balleny Islands, and the Sabrina Coast. In a violent storm, the Sabrina is lost with all hands. 

1837/40
French explorer Captain Jules-Sébastien-César Dumont D'Urville, commanding two ships the 'Astrolabe' and 'Zelee', begins a three year voyage of discovery in the Antarctic and Pacific regions in an attempt to sail below 60°S. His expedition costs the lives of 20 officers and men, as well  9 seamen desert in South America.

1838
January: Captain Dumont D'Urville leads his ships 'Astrolabe' and 'Zelee', along the coast of Tierra del Fuego in early January 1838, . He follows Weddell's route, but is trapped in the ice on 4 February, and is forced to return north to Chile.

1838
April 1: Seaman Lepreux, aboard the 'Astrolabe' dies of scurvy.

1839
Balleny Islands discovered and landed upon in 1839. They lie at 66°15' S.

1840
January 18: The 'Astrolabe' and 'Zelee', cross the 64th parallel. The following morning the ships are surrounded by pack ice.

January 19: Charles B. Wilkes, captain of the US flagship Vincennes, claimed the discovery of Antarctica. Wilkes Land was later named in his honor. The American explorer, born April 3, 1798, coasted along part of the Antarctic barrier from about 150 degrees east to 108 degrees east, the areas that were subsequently named Wilkes Land. Wilkes’ officers disputed the Jan 19 sighting but acknowledged that land was sighted Jan 28 and Feb 15.

January 20: The hydrographer, Dumoulin climbs the rigging sights Land. It is named Terre Adelie in honour of D'Urville's wife. Terre Adélie consists of islands and territories located south of 60°S and between 136°E and 142°E.

1838/42
Lieutenant Charles Wilkes USN, heads the United States Exploring Expedition with six vessels. 'Vincennes' (Lieutenant Charles Wilkes), Peacock (Lieutenant William Hudson), 'Porpoise' (Lieutenant Cadwallader Ringgold), 'Relief', and schooners 'Flying Fish' and 'Sea Gull'.  The 'Sea Gull' and her crew of 15 are lost in a storm below the Antarctic Circle. He conducts a 2 year probe of the Antarctic coast and Wilkes Land is named after him. This is America's first official expedition to include Antarctica. During the expedition 62 men are dishonourably discharged and a further 42 desert. 

1839/43
Sir James Clark Ross RN with ships 'HMS Erebus' and 'HMS Terror' discovers the Ross Sea, the Ross Ice Barrier and Victorialand. He names volcanoes Mounts Erebus and Terror after his ships. 

1840 ca
The wife of the Captain of the medium clipper ship 'Fleetwood' is thought to be the first woman to sail South of 60°S. The 'Fleetwood' is lost with all hands.   

1844/45
Thomas E.L. Moore, a British naval officer who served with Ross, sails in the 'Pagoda' to make magnetic observations south of 60° S between 0° and 100° E in previously unnavigated seas. He reaches 67° 50' S and confirms land. It is the northeasterly extension of Enderby Land. 

1872/74
Captain Edouard Dallman sails the 'Grönland' into the southern oceans under the auspices of the German Polar Navigation Company to the Antarctic Peninsula in search of whales. Whaling was poor, but sealing is profitable. Dallman reaches 64° 45' S, and explores the Trinity Peninsula. Dallman discovers the Bismarck Strait, the Wilhelm Archipelago, and the Neumayer Channel. 

1873
First steamship crossing of the Antarctic Circle by 'HMS Challenger', on a pioneering oceanographic cruise.

1892/93
Known as the Dundee Whaling Expedition, four Scottish whalers, the 'Balaena', 'Diana', 'Active', and 'Polar Star', sail to 65° S in search of whales. Due to the lack of whales they resort to sealing and 14,000 sealskins are harvested, however the voyage is barely profitable. They discover several islets in the Danger Islands group. Captain Thomas Robertson of the Active explores the south coast of Joinville Island, and discovers and names Dundee Island.

1892
Captain Carl A.Larsen sails aboard the 'Jason' with Christen Christensen of the Oceana Company of Hamburg and visits regions of the Antarctic Peninsula in search of whales. Larsen explores the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, and discovers petrified wood on Seymour Island. The 'Jason' reaches 64° 40' S, 56° 30' W in the western portion of the Weddell Sea.

1893/94
Captain Evenson in the 'Hertha' and Morten Pedersen in the 'Castor' join Larsen and the 'Jason'. In this second season, the 'Jason', 'Hertha' and 'Castor' sail as far as 68° 10' S on the easten side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Larsen discovers Oscar II Coast, Cape Framnes, Mount Jason, Foyn Coast, and Robertson Island. Captain Evenson on the western side of the peninsula reaches 69° 10' S and sightes Alexander Island. the first time that Alexander Island had been sighted since Bellingshausen.

December 25: The Norwegian ship Antarctic crosses the Antarctic Circle

1893/95
January 24: Henryk Bull, a Norwegian businessman leads a private expedition to the southern reaches aboard the ship 'Antarctic'. Bull's principal accomplishment is the first confirmed landing on the Antarctic continent, at Cape Adare.

1897/99
Man's first winter-over in the Antarctic. The Belgian Antarctic Expedition led by Adrienne de Gerlache aboard the ship 'Belgica' is frozen in the Admundsen Sea. Gerlache's party includes Doctor Frederick Cook, Roald Amundsen (third officer), and a staff of outstanding scientists of diverse nationalities. The 'Belgica' explores the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula and discovers the Gerlache Strait. Some 20 landings are made on various islands, and the first sledging journey in made in Antarctica, on Brabant Island.

1898
January 22: Seaman Boy Carl Wiencke off the 'Belgica'  falls overboard and is drowned.

June 5: Lieutenant Danco off the 'Belgica' dies from the cold. A hole is cut in the ice, and his mortal remains are committed it to the deep.

The crew of the Belgica go insane during the frozen winter darkness. Seaman Knutsen dies of mental instability.

1898/1900
Man's first winter-over ashore by a British scientific party led by Carston E. Borschgrevink aboard the ship 'Southern Cross'. The expedition comes ashore at Cape Adair in the Ross Sea, and brings the first dogs to the ice. This expedition is well organised and staffed, and establishes the first land base in Antarctica, at Cape Adare. They make the first landings on Coulman Island and Ross Island, and are the first to travel over the Ross Ice Shelf.  This expedition reaches 78° 50' S.  

1901/04
Captain Robert Falcon Scott RN leads the British National Antarctic Expedition on the ship 'HMS Discovery'. They establish a base at Hut Point in McMurdo Sound and conduct the first extensive land exploration.  Scott, Lieutenant Ernest Shackleton and Edward Wilson sledge South to set a record of 82°S 16". They are about 500 miles from the Pole.

1901
First use of electricty in Antarctica by Scott's party which is generated by a windmill.

1902
February 4: First balloon ascent in Antarctica by Captain Robert Falcon Scott RN and Lieutenant Ernest Shackleton RN aboard the hydrogen balloon 'Eva'

March 11: Able Seaman George T. Vince, becomes the first man to lose his life in McMurdo Sound. He dies following a fall into McMurdo Sound from a steep icy slope during a blizzard.  A wooden cross is erected to commemorate this tragedy which still stands.

Scott Island discovered and landed on at 67°24'S.  The island is largely glacierized. It becomes a New Zealand territory, part of the Ross Dependency.

1901/1903
Erich von Drygalski, a professor of geography and geophysics at the University of Berlin, leads a German government-funded scientific expedition to the Antarctic aboard the ship 'Gauss'. A separate party under mountaineer and meteorologist Joseph Enzensperger establishes a subsidiary scientific and supply station at the Kerguelen Islands. Drygalski's party establishes a winter-over station aboard the 'Gauss', which is stuck fast in the ice, at Wilhelm II Coast. Gaussberg, located at 66°40'S, is the southern limit of this expedition.

Drygalski becomes the second balloonist in Antarctica when he climbs aboard the balloon the Gauss was carrying and rises to an altitude of 1600 feet.  

1903
February 8: The 'Gauss' breaks from the ice, by spreading ash over the side in the direstion of the chanel.

1903/05
The French explorer Jean Charcot organises two expeditions to Antarctica, the first on the ship 'Français' (1903-1905) and the second aboard the 'Pourquoi Pas' (1908-1910). 

1907/09
Ernest Shackleton's leads his first Antarctic Expedition aboard the 'HMS Nimrod'. He leads a party to 82°S 23" which is 97 miles of the South Pole. On this expedition Shackleton brings an English Arrol-Johnson motorcar. Supply cases are used to construct a garage for the car at Cape Royds.

1908
January 15: The New Zealand Post Office produces the first official stamps specifically for use in the Antarctic. Known as the "King Edward VII Land" stamp it is issued on mail for the first time by members of the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition.

1909
January 16: Sir Ernest Shackleton leads a party to the Magnetic South Pole

1911
November 3: Captain Robert Falcon Scott leaves the Discovery Hut for the South Pole

December 14: Roald Amundsen leads a Norwegian Antarctic Expediton onboard the ship 'Fram'. Originally bound for the North Pole, he shocks the world and Robert Falcon Scott with a telegram unveiling his real intentions: "Beg leave to inform you Fram proceeding Antarctic. Amundsen." Amundsen lands at the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea. His team set out on October 19 with four men and 52 dogs Amundsen and his party reach the South Pole.  Well organised, trained and equipped in skiing and dog-driving, they return an astonishing 10 days early.

1912
January 17: Captain Robert Falcon Scott leads his 2nd expedition to the Ross Sea aboard the Terra Nova. Using Siberian ponies Scott's party reaches the South Pole.

Petty Officer Edgar Evans suffers from both scurvy and severe frostbite, and twice falls into crevasses, striking his head. He dies sometime in February. On the 7th March, Captain Oates leaves the tent and walks out into a blizzard. He is very weak and  hopes to ease the burden on his companions by his sacrifice.  
On the 21st March 1912 the remaining members of Scott's party are 11 miles from One Ton Depot. They have 2 days worth of food and one day's worth of fuel. That night a blizzard came up that lasted for 9 days. The last entry in Scott's log is dated the 29th March. It reads in part, "Everyday we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end can not be far. It seems a pity but I do not think I can write any more."  Scott and the 4 other members of his party perish on the return journey. (Scott is Posthumously Knighted).

South Poles:   
Antarctica has three South Poles, they are: 
- The South Geographic Pole is the southern pole of the Earth's axis and is situated by definition at 90° South. 
- The South Magnetic Pole is the southern pole of the Earth's magnetic field. At the South Magnetic Pole, a compass needle will try to point straight down. The South Magnetic Pole moves about 6 to 9 miles a year and is currently situated off the D'Urville Sea in East Antarctica. 
- The South Geomagnetic Pole (78°28'South, 106°48'East) is the point at which the flux in the Earth's geomagnetic field is manifested. Vostok station (Russia) is situated at the South Geomagnetic Pole.

1911
Members of Scotts expedition Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers and Apsley Cherry-Garrard carry out a midwinter journey to Cape Crozier to seek out Emperor penguins eggs. Their journey takes 5 weeks during which they camp in temperatures of -61°C (-77°F). Wilson and Bowers later perish with Scott during the return from the Pole.

Albert Armitage, second in command of Scotts expedition, leads a party which makes the first ascent onto the polar plateau, via the Ferrar Glacier.  

1912
The Deutschland Expedition fails in its attempt to make a trans-Antarctic crossing. This Swiss/Japanese expedition is led by Wilhelm Filchner aboard the 'Deutschland', fails to meet at the South Pole, however Filchner discovers the Luitpold Coast and the Filchner Ice Shelf. Filcher also disproves the existance of Morrell Land.
November 12: A search party finds Scott's tent containing the bodies of Scott, Edward Wilson, and Lieutenant Bowers. They build a cairn over the bodies of these explorers, and bring back all the parties diaries, personal papers and scientific records. They also carry back 30 pounds of geological samples from the Beardmore glacier. 

Sir Douglas Mawson leads an Australian expedition aboard the 'Aurora'. While he and two others (Ninnis and Mertz) are mapping the Antarctic coast, his two companions die. First Ninnis falls into a crevasse along with the dog team and all the rations. Mertz dies two weeks later of vitiam A toxins (caused by eating raw dog liver). Mawson completes what is later called "the greatest story of lone survival in polar exploration".

1914/17
On the eve of WWI, Sir Ernest Shackleton leads the British Imperial TransAntarctic Expedition aboard the 'Endurance'. His expedition is cancelled when the 'HMS Endurance' becomes trapped in annual ice and breaks up. Shackleton successfully saves himself and 27 man party by a supreme feat of human endurance, seamanship and courage.

1915
November 21: Endurance crushed by pack-ice
December 29: Shackleton establishes Patience Camp

1922
January 5: Sir Ernest Shackleton dies aboard the 'Quest', while leading his second Antarctic Expedition.  He is buried in the whalers cemetery at Grytviken, South Georgia and Leadership transfers to his second in command, Frank Wild.

1928
November 26: First aeroplane flight over Antarctica, by Sir Hubert Wilkins (Australia), and pilot Colonel Carl Ben Eielson (USA), flying from Deception Island aboard a Lockheed Vega.

1928/30
Admiral Richard E. Byrd USN leads the First Byrd Antarctic Expedition. He establishes Little America I on the Ross Ice Shelf.

1928    
Paul Siple becomes the first Boy Scout to journey to Antarctica. He is the winner of a nationwide Scouting contest, and is 19 years old when he joins Byrd's expedition. 

1929
November 29: Admiral Byrd makes the first historic flight over the South Pole.

1929/1931
During 1929 and 1931, Sir Douglas Mawson leads a further two expeditions to the ice, resulting in nearly half Antarctica being claimed as Australian territory.

1933/35
The Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition. Many flights of discovery are made. Admiral Byrd winter-overs alone at Bolling Advance Camp, 100 miles south of Little America II.  Admiral Byrd also takes three Guernsey cows aboard the 'Jacob Ruppert' supply ship to provide fresh milk for the expedition. The cattle returned after 22,000 miles of sea travel with a new bull calf christened "Iceberg", born just outside of the Antarctic Circle. 

1934/37
British Graham Land Expedition (BGLE). A team comprised of 16 men led by John Rymill, an Australian, who also acted as surveyor and second pilot spend three years mapping much of the coastline of Graham Land. They discover that that the channels (reported after the pioneering flights of Wilkins and Ellsworth) between the Bellinghausen and Weddell Seas did not, in fact, exist. Thus, Graham Land was a peninsula and not an archipelago.

1935
February 20: The first recorded women sets foot in Antarctica. Her name was Caroline Mikkelsen, the wife of Captain Klarius Mikkelsen of the Norwegian whaler 'Thorshaven'. 
December 5: Antarctic explorer Lincoln Ellsworth and pilot Herbert Hollick-Kenyon crash land 25 miles short of Little America. They walk six days to the camp which had been abandoned by Admiral Byrd several years earlier. They are rescued by the British Research Society ship 'Discovery II' a month later. Their plane, the Northrup 2B Polar Star is later recovered by Herbert Hollick-Kenyon.

1938
Adolph Hitler and Herman Goering send Dornier flying-boats to Antarctica to claim the continent for Germany. Marker poles with swastikas were thrown out onto the ice to demonstrate land claims of the Third Reich. 

1939
The US Antarctic Service Expedition, is led by Admiral Byrd (aka Third Byrd Antarctic Expedition), using ships 'USS Bear' and 'USMS North Star.' Plans to permanently occupy Little America III and East Base are cancelled due to WWII. Seaman George W. Gibbs Jr., becomes the first black American to reach Antarctica.

1943
Operation Tabarin - is carried out during WWII. This British Expedition establishes the Falkland Islands Dependency Survey.
 
1945
Twenty five Inuit Sled Dogs (then called Eskimo dogs, later Huskies), are obtained from Labrador (Canada) are brought to Graham Land in 1945 for the British Antarctic Expedition .
 
1946
A further 24 Huskies are sent to the British Expedition. These dogs become the foundation for all the teams of the BAS bases at Rothera, Hope Bay, Adelaide Island, Stonington Island and Halley Bay. Their numbers grow to form forty five dog teams, each of about seven dogs.   

December 30: PBM-5 (George I) an amphibious aircraft off the 'USS Pine Island' bursts into flames and crashes on the 30th December 1946. Killed are - Ensign Maxwell A. Lopez, USN; ARM1 Wendell K. Henderson, USN; AMM1 Frederick W. Williams, USN. The are the first recorded American deaths in Antarctica.

1946/47
Operation Highjump / Task Force 68 - is directed by Admiral Byrd.  Over 4,000 men, 13 ships and 23 aircraft are involved, commanded by Rear Admiral Richard Cruzen.  A base is set up at Little America. Extensive mapping of the coast and interior is accomplished. Over 70,000 aerial photographs are taken. This was the largest Antarctic Expedition ever mounted and the first to use helicopters. This expedition discovered more territory than all previous expeditions combined. Little America IV served as the base for photomapping flights.
 
1947
Ship unloading accident aboard 'USS Yancey' during Operation Highjump.  Killed is SN Vance N. Woodall, USN

In December, as a follow up to Highjump, "OPERATION WINDMILL" begins

1947/48
Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition. This expedition included the first two women to winter-over in Antarctica. They were Edith (Jackie) Ronn and Jenny Darlington. Flying over the southern shores, he is the first to see the mountains of the western edge of the Filchner Ice Shelf.

1948
The first child conceived in Antarctica is to Harry and Jenny Darlington during the Ronne Expedition. Jenny Darlington was 4 months pregnant when she left the ice.

1949    
The US  Antarctic research monster vehicle "Snow Cruiser" arrives on the ice. It is an ungainly beast with huge balloon tires, which are built by Goodyear to withstand the harsh environment of Antarctica.  It weighes 75,000 pounds, is 55 feet long, 20 feet wide and 16 feet tall.  It is designed for a range of 5,000 miles and can support five people with supplies for more than a year.  On top of the vehicle is mounted a small reconnaissance aircraft. The "Snow Cruiser" is a complete lemon, seriously underpowered, and prone to overheating. It is abandoned at Little America, and later disapears. Antarctic folklore suggests that it is stolen by the Russians for evaluation.

December 24: A French mission sails from Réunion on the lobster boat 'Sapmer 1' under the command of Captain Verdavaine. Its Mission is to set up a permanent French Antarctic base on Nouvelle Amsterdam Island. The base becomes operational on the 31st December, and is named Martin de Viviès, after meteorologist Paul de Martin de Viviès, who headed the mission.

1950
January 20: Some 110 years after Dumon d'Urville, 15 men from the French Polar Expeditions led by André Frnak Liotard land in Adélie Terre from the ship 'Commandant Charcot'. They were to build the first French base in Adélie Terre, called the Port-Martin base, on the coast at 66°49'S and 141°24'E. The base is named after one of the members of the expedition, J.A. Martin, who died on board in 1949 off the Cape of Good Hope. It operates from 14th February 1950 to 20th January 1952, when it was destroyed by fire. 

1955
Naval Support Force Antarctica (NSFA) established along with Task Force 43, to be commanded by Rear Admiral George Dufek. Plans finalized for 6 scientific stations: Pole, Byrd, Wilkes, Ellsworth, Hallett, and Little America V (LA5), along with a secondary air support/ logistics base at McMurdo. Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd designated "OIC, US Antarctic Program."

Brussels Antarctic Conference. The Soviet delegation an­nounce Russias intention to build a main base at 85 E and establish research stations at the South geomagnetic Pole and the Pole of Inaccessibility.

Three Soviet ships, the 'Ob' and the 'Lena' (both diesel-electric with a cargo capacity of 4500 tons), and the supply ship 'Refrigerator No.7' are assigned the the Russian Antarctic Research Programme.

January 17: VX-6 Squadron (later known as VXE-6 Squadron) is established at the Naval Air Station (NAS), Patuxent River, Maryland
January 22: US Navy Helicopter off 'USS Atka' crashes at Kainan Bay near Little America. Killed is the pilot LT John P. Moore, USNR.
December 13: VX-6 aircraft poised at Harewood for flight south
December 18: Operation Deep Freeze I commences. The first arrival is at Hut Point on the. A tented camp is set up which will soon become McMurdo Station.
December 20: The first aircraft land at McMurdo Ice Runway {2 Neptunes (P2V's),and 2 Skymasters R5D's}.
4 US Navy aircraft fly to the ice from New Zealand. This was the first landing of aircraft onto Antarctica from another land mass.
December 22: 142424  De Havilland C/N 76 crashes on takeoff at near Cape Bird, Ross Island, Antarctica. No fatalities.

1955/56
The International Geophysical Year (IGY) preparations. Admiral Byrd co-ordinates the US Antarctic Programme. Deep Freeze I Task Force under the command of Rear Admiral George J Dufek USN, establishes the bases of Little America V and McMurdo Station.

1956
January 1: A snow tractor falls through the annual ice at McMurdo. Killed is CD3 Richard T. Williams, USN.  Williams Field named in his honour.
January 3: First IGY-era flight over the South Pole. Admiral Byrd was on the first 2 in 1929 and 1947, and did it again with Paul Siple on the 8th January 1956. This was Admiral Byrd's final trip to the ice.
January 5: Russian ship 'Ob' moors at Farr Bay.  Soviet people touched the Antarctic continent for the first time. 'Lena' arrives on the 20th January, and supply ship  'Refrigerator No.7' on the 8th of February.
February 13: The ceremonial inauguration of the first Soviet Base on the Antarctic coast takes place. The base is named 'Mirny'.
March 5: A tractor falls into a crevasse en route from Little America to establish Byrd Station, killing CD3 Max R. Kiel, USN.
September: The birth of "Puckered Pete" the world's most famous Penguin. This cartoon character drawn by Ray Hall becomes the unofficial mascot of VX-6 (later VXE-6) Squadron US Navy Air Devrons, and is instantly recognised by any adventurer who has served in Antarctica.
October 18: A P2V-2N  BUNO 122465 crashes at McMurdo during a whiteout. Three are killed on impact and Captain Hudman later dies of his injuries. Those killed are - LT David W. Carey, USNR VX-6; Capt "Rayburn A, Hudman, USMC VX-6; AD1 Marian O. Marze, USN VX-6; AT1 Charles S. Miller, USN VX-6.      

1956/57
The first cargo airdrop to the (as yet unoccupied), South Pole. A C-124 Globemaster with Paul Siple aboard (10/25)  Beardmore Station set up as a weather/refueling station for Pole flights at the south end of the Ross Ice Shelf (85°S-166°W which was actually near Liv Glacier 120 miles east of the Beardmore).
 
1956
October 31: William "Trigger" Hawkes and Gus Shinn with Rear Admiral George Dufek onboard land the R4D "Que Sera Sera" at the South Pole.
November 20: The first construction crew arrives at the South Pole led by Lieutenant Dick Bowers USN. The South Pole has remained continuously occupied since this date.
November 26: The first parachute jump at the South Pole by USAF Sergeant Richard J. Patton (static line jump) occurs. Sergeant Patton jumps in to co-ordinate the airdrop operations.
December 12: 'HMNZS Pukaki' and 'HMNZS Hawea' escort the Antarctic supply ship 'HMNZS Endeavour' from Bluff, New Zealand to the edge of the pack ice on the Endeavour's first voyage south.
December 14: The (now famous) "Barber Shop" pole is erected.

Able Seaman Ramon Tito, being the youngest member of the crew of 'HMNZS Endeavour' is given the honour of raising the New Zealand Ensign at the opening of the New Zealand Antarctic station which is named Scott Base. 

1956/58
The New Zealand Trans-Antarctic Expedition is led by Sir Edmund Hillary using Massey Fergusson farm tractors which are the first wheeled vehicles to reach the South Pole. The expedition arrives with only 20 gallons of fuel left. His party is the first since Scott's to reach the South Pole over land.  

1957
January 13: An ANARE party from the 'Kirsta Dan' hold a ceremony ashore to officially open the second Australian Antarctic Station. The station is named Davis, in honour of Captain John King Davis, a famous Australian Antarctic navigator.
January 14: A US Navy Weasel goes through ice at Hut Point. Killed is CD Ollie B Bartley, USN. CB Spec.
January 23: The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is dedicated.
March 1: Sir Edmund Hillary and his party arrives at the South Pole (from Scott Base), leading the support leg of the Commonwealth Transantarctic Expedition (TAE).
March 26: The first weather balloon is launched at South Pole Station, using generated hydrogen.
July 12: HO4S-3  BUNO 138580  Crashes in the vicinity of McMurdo Station during austral winter. Killed is AD2 Nelson R. Cole, USN.
October 16: USAF Electronics Test Unit, OIC Major James Lassiter, arrives in the S. Shetlands
November 8: A shipboard accident occurs on the. Killed is SA Richard T Oppegaard, USN.

The first Russian scientific base is established on the Antarctic continent.

1957/58
The 18 month period from 1st July 1957 - 31st December 1958, marks the historical delineation of modern Antarctic scientific co-operation. It was agreed by all interested nations that the world should co-operate in its' endeavours for scientific understanding of the Antarctic continent and cease all territorial claims. 67 countries participated in ambitious scientific projects all over the continent, and 12 countries set up networks of scientific bases. The International Geophysical Year (IGY) was responsible for the later  Antarctic Treaty Organization, which is the international governing body of Antarctic Science and Conservation.

1958
Sir Edmund Hillary reaches the South Pole using Ferguson tractors and with only 91 litres of fuel remaining is the first overland journey to the pole since Scott, and Hillary has set up depots for Vivian Fuchs, leader of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition who is approaching from the Weddell Sea   Fuchs reaches the pole two weeks after Hillary, and continues to the Ross Sea to complete the first crossing of the continent.
April 23: François Antonelli, a French meteorologist, is killed in a fall while repairing the anemometer mast at the Martin de Viviès Base on Nouvelle Amsterdam Island.
May 2: US President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposes a treaty under which the co-operative and scientific focus of Antarctic activity would be continued after the International Geophysical Year.  
October 16: A C-124 Globemaster en-route from Christchurch, New Zealand crashes into the Admiralty Mountains while flying to make a mail drop at Hallett Station.The aircraft was loaded with 8 tons of  construction timber. The seven men on the flight deck survived.  The six men in the cargo area of the aircraft perished. Those killed were -  SSGT Leonard M. Pitkevitch, USAF, 52nd TCS; TSGT Iman E. Fendley, USAF, 52nd TCS; TSGT Nathaniel Wallis, USAF, 52nd TCS; A1C Richard De Angelo, USAF, 52nd TCS; A2C Robert L. Burnette, USAF, 52nd TCS; A2C Kelly Sloan, USAF, 52nd TCS.  
October 24: The first Russian transantarctic flight passes over the South Pole.

1959
January 4: UC-1 BUNO 144673  Crashes on take off at Marble Point. Killed are - LT Harvey E. Gardner, USN; LTJG Lawrence J. Farrell, USN.                         
November 19: New Zealander Lieutenant Tom Couzens, Royal New Zealand Armored Corps is killed in a Crevasse accident on the. He is the first New Zealander to be killed in Antarctica.
November 28: BU Paul V. O'Leary, USNR dies of Accidental Poisoning
December 1: The Antarctic Treaty is signed and ratified by the 12 nations with active scientific programs and suspended territorial claims (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Great Britian, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, USA, and the USSR [Russia]).  In December, the twelve leading nations participating in the IGY sign the "Antarctic Treaty" in Washington, DC. The treaty was framed as an agreement so the continent "shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes". The treaty came into effect in 1961 and guarantees access and scientific research in all territory south of 60° latitude.

1960
The first use of ski-equipped C-130 Hercules in Antarctica. These sturdy work horses of the US Navy proving well capable of the demands placed upon them.

March 8: A serious fire in the meteology building at Mirny Station (Russian), occurs during a 110-knot windstorm. This results in the deaths of  8 Russian scientists, including the Team Leader. They are buried at the Station.
October 31: USN Project Magnet Constellation, El Paisano crashed near McMurdo. No casualties
November 2: An accidential explosion occurs at McMurdo Station. Killed is SW1 Orlan F. John, USN.
December 16: Able Seaman Thomas Frank McLeod dies in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Nicknamed "Stornaway" he is the longest lived of the Endurance Party and has the distinction of being one of a very elite group of Antarctic adventurers who served on Scott's 1910 'Terra Nova' expedition and Shackleton's 1914 'Endurance', and later 1921 'Quest' expeditions. He is one of a very few seamen to hold two Polar Medals.

1961
The first nuclear powered automated weather station is set up by American scientists, aprox 60 miles south of McMurdo Station.

Thurston Island is discovered. It was previously thought to be part of a peninsula of the mainland.

April 9: The first winter flight to Antarctica is successfully completed.
June 23: The Antarctic Treaty was again agreed for a further 30 years.
October 2: 'HMNZS Rotoiti' fitted out as a weather picket ship sails from Auckland on patrol, to provide weather information and be on emergency standby for the US aircraft flying between Christchurch and McMurdo Station.  
November 9: P2V-7LP BUNO 140439  (Neptune) Crashes and burns on takeoff from Wilkes Station on the 9th November 1961. Killed are - LCDR William D. Counts, USN, VX-6; LTJG Romauld P. Compton, USN, VX-6; AMH1 William W. Chastain, USN, VX-6; ADR2 James L. Gray, USN, VX-6. Civilian Dr Edward C. Thiel Seismologist USARP. A range of mountains is named after Dr Thiel. The other victims of this crash have individual mountains in this range named for them

1961/63
'HMNZS Rotioti' carrys out 3 tours as a weather picket ship in the 61-62 summer season plus 2 resupply tours in late 1962, and last two resupply tours in November/ December 1963 in support of Operation Deep Freeze. 

1962
March 3: The US Navy installs the first nuclear reactor in Antarctica. It is activated at McMurdo Station.  The plant has an expensive history of fire, radiation leakage and shutdowns, until it is finally decommissioned in 1972.
March 11: The fifth anniversary of the Admiral's death, the New Zealand National Memorial to Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd is dedicated at Wellington, New Zealand, by the Right Honorable Keith Holyoake, Prime Minister of New Zealand, assisted by Rear Admiral David M. Tyree and Mr. A. Leigh Hunt, originator of the project. Honoured guest and representative of the Byrd family is Mrs. Robert Breyer, the late Admiral's daughter.
October 23: Sikorsky C/N 58-546  Crashes, McMurdo Station. Rotor blades shatter and aircraft bursts into flames. No loss of life
November 11: Sikorsky C/N 58-806 crashes at Wright Dry Valleys. The aircraft is destroyed. No loss of life. 
1963
'HMNZS Endeavour' commences Antarctic Resupply Mission & Scientific Research. This includes Bellany, Macquarrie, Auckland and Campbell Islands in support of Operation Deep Freeze. 

1964
HMNZS Pukaki takes over Piquet Duty from HMNZS Rotoiti in Jan 64 and summer 1964-65 in conjunction with USS Mills and USS Hissem

All Antarctic Treaty nations make the region south of 60°S a "Special" conservation area.

Sikorsky C/N 58-1560 Crashes. No loss of life. Although written off it is recovered by sailors from VX-6 and 'USS Stanen Island', repaired and returned to service. 

September 30: First winter airdrop to the Pole by an LC-130 Hercules occurs.

1965
HMNZS Endeavour carries amongst its cargo a VW Beetle Scott Base to test. The bug had 4 wheels on the back axle. It was tested by Scott Base personnel and performed extremely well in the conditions.
May 8: Civilian Carl R. Disch : Ionospheric Phy. Disappears at Byrd Station. He becomes lost between the met building and main station tunnel during a windstorm, and is never found despite extensive winter and summer searches.
October 23: The (now famous) bust of Admiral Byrd is dedicated at McMurdo Station.

1966
February 2: LC-47J  BUNO 50832 Crashes on the Ross Ice Shelf during takeoff. Killed are - LCDR Ronald Rosenthal, USN, VX-6; LT Harold M. Morris, USN, VX-6; LT William D. Fordell, USN, VX-6; AT1 Richard S. Simmons, USN, VX-6; ADR3 Wayne M. Shattuck, USN, VX-6; ADJ3 Charles C. Kelley, USN, VX-6. 
February 13: Cargo Handling accident occurs at the South Pole. Killed was SK2 Andrew B Moulder, USN. He is the first person to die at the South Pole.
November 14: The first landing on Antarctica of a pure jet aircraft takes place when a USAF C-141 Starlifter touched down at Williams Field, McMurdo Station.
December 17: The first ascent of Vinson Massif takes place. This USARP Expedition is lead by Nicholas Clinch. Vinson Massif stands 16,860 feet, and is the highest peak in Antarctica.

1967
On of the greatest fossil finds of the 20th century takes place when the jawbone of a freshwater vertebrate is found. This find proves that Antarctica was once linked to other continents.

1968
The first tourism venture takes place when Lars Eric Lindblad sails the Argentine ship 'Aquiles' below 60°S.

1969
January: VX-6 Squadron USN is re-designated as Antarctic Development Squadron SIX (VXE-6). 

1969
A expedition made up of fossil experts, Dr. Edwin H Colbert, Dr. Paul Tasch and Dr David H. Elliot arrive at the ice in search of fossil bones. In November 1969, they find the bones of a theodont, an ancestor of alligators and crocodiles. In December the same year Dr. Colbert discovers the reptilian skull of a Lystrosaurus, a two- to four-foot long hippo-like freshwater reptile. 
 
19 November: Sikorsky C/N 58-1560  "Gentle 5"  VX-6 Squadron helecopter crashes near Mount McLennan. The helicopter slid 700 ft after crashing. There are six survivors. Killed are - Civilian Jeremy Sykes  New Zealand Film Director NZARP;  Civilian Thomas E. Berg  Geologist USARP.

1969/70
Dr. Lois Jones leads the first all female expedition to Antarctica as part of Operation Deep Freeze. 4 OSU geologists headed for a field camp in the Dry Valleys. A New Zealand woman from NZARP and a US reporter Jean Pearson of the Detroit News.  They become the first 6 women to reach the South Pole.  They all step off the ramp of the LC-130 Hercules at the same time so no one is "first."  They are - Lois Jones, Jean Pearson, Eileen McSaveney, Kay Lindsay, Terry Tickhill and New Zealander Pam Young.

1971
October 11: ADC William D. Decker, USN, VXE-6; dies in his sleep at McMurdo CPO Quarters. Decker was VXE-6 LCPO.  
November: The first around-the-world solo flight across both Poles is accomplished.  In November 1971, Elgen Long flys a twin-engine Piper Navajo aircraft. He crosses the South Pole from Punta Arenas and lands at McMurdo en route to Sydney, Australia.  

1972
September 18: The McMurdo nuclear reactor is shutdown, and later removed from Antarctica.
November 29: Doctor David Lewis in Ice Bird capsizes for first time

1973
Van 50 for the construction of the "New" South Pole Station is loaded by Kiwi Cargo Handlers onto VXE6 Squadron Hercules (JD 9130), and is flown to the Pole.

January 28: LC-130 Hercules 917 crash-lands on a newly constructed ski-way in front of the South Pole Dome. No loss of life, however the aircraft is destroyed.  
The 'MV Glomar Challenger' discovers traces of hydrocarbons beneath the Ross Sea.
October 20: Final PM-3A Weekly Operating Report forwarded to Fort Belvoir
December 11: Civilian Wolf V. Vishniac a Microbilogist for the USARP falls off a mountain in Asgard Mountain Range during a whiteout and is killed. 

1974
January 15: Two LC-130 Hercules crash at Dome Charlie, first one is damaged by JATO bottle, the second is damaged during rescue landing. There is no loss of life and the aircraft remain there frozen over winter.
May 15: Civilian Greg Nickell  Lab Manager USARP is killed in a truck wreck between McMurdo Station and Scott Base. The truck rolled down a 600 foot cliff.

The memorial cross to ill-fated Robert Falcon Scott is ripped from the summit of Observation Hill in a violent storm. This is the first time since it was erected there in 1913.

1975
A third LC-130 crashes at Dome Charlie while attempting to uplift the winter-over crew. No loss of life.

Commander Jacques Cousteau, a world famous undersea explorer, leads an expedition to Antarctica aboard his ship 'Calypso'. One of his divers is killed while exploring an ice-berg. His ship is also damaged during a storm at Hope Bay when it is caught in the ice. Calypso requires an escort across Drake Passage as she heads north to the safety of South America.
January 9: The "New" Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is dedicated.
January 20: A South Polar Skua is hatched and banded on Shortcut Island near Palmer Station.  It was later recovered by an Eskimo at Godthabsfjorden, Greenland on 31st July. The South Polar Skua is believed to range farther south than any other bird and has been sighted at the geographic South Pole.  
February 3: The "Old" Pole Station is closed. Civilian Team Leader Richard Wolak turns off the lights at the Old Pole bringing to a close a historic chapter in Antarctic pioneering.
October 12: Civilian Jeffrey D. Rude  Oceanographer USARP is drowned when his tracked vehicle breaks through the ice in McMurdo Sound.

1976    
January 22: SN Gerald E. Reily, Jr., 'USCG Glacier' is electrocuted aboard ship while operating in the Amundsen Sea.
December 27: Ida Grove, VXE-6 candidate for Ice Queen received 3386 votes coming in a close second behind winner Earl Haney of NSFA

1977
QANTAS commences day excursion flights over the frozen continent.

1978
January 7: Emilio Marcos Palma is the first male child born in Antarctica. He is born to Argentine parents on the Argentine Base Esperanza, near the tip of the Antarctic peninsula and is declared an Argentine citizen.  

Air New Zealand commences DC-10 scenic flights over Antarctica.

August 22: The historic "Chapel of the Snows" which was built in 1956 at McMurdo Station is destroyed in a spectacular fire.

1979
Dr. Michele Eilen Raney, the station physician becomes the first woman to winter-over at South Pole. 

February 8: A US Serviceman Raymond C. Porter, USCG is killed when a forklift he is operating while offloading 'USNS Bland', overturns and crushes him.
November 28: Air New Zealand DC-10 (Flight TE-901) on a scenic flight crashes into its northern slopes of Mount Erebus. All 237 passengers and 20 crew on the flight are killed. LINK

1979
New Zealand Police Body Recovery Team serves on the ice at Scott Base and on Mount Erebus uplifting the dead from Flight TE-901 and returning the remains to New Zealand.

The crash of Air New Zealand Flight TE-901 severely dampens planned ceremonies and flights commemorating the 50-year anniversary of Admiral Byrd's 1929 Pole flight.

December 2: The first Round the World Race takes place at the South Pole, organized by runners Martha Kane (Savage) and Casey Jones. This is now an annual tradition.

1980
Scientists found out that the ozone layer in the stratosphere was being polluted.

January 9: Civilian Casey A. Jones  H&N USARP, a Cook at South Pole Station is killed when a column of snow/ice falls and buries him while in an intake shaft. His body is cremated in New Zealand and his ashes are scattered on the Beardmore Glacier.

1981
The Transglobe Expedition (first circumnavigation of the world via the poles) in the middle of the expedition complete the crossing of Antarctica and arrive at Scott Base.

British Antarctic Scientist notices hole in ozone layer in Austral Spring. The hole was confirmed by satellite imagery and has been getting steadily larger with each passing year since. 

1982
January 20: Robert Muldoon becomes the first Prime Minister of New Zealand to visit Antarctica
February 6: BM1 Raymond T. Smith, USN is killed when he is accidentally knocked overboard while offloading the 'SS Southern Cross'. His hardhat  was made into a memorial.

The Falklands War. An Argentinian Ocuupation Force takes over the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. They are removed by force at a cost of 910 lives.

1983
The United Nations, at the request of Malaysia, votes to examine the present systen of control in Antarctica.  Third world nations have become increasingly critical of the restricted membership of the Antarctic Treaty, preferring control to be haned over to a broader-based international organisation.

1984
A meteorite (ALH84001) is discovered in the Allen Hills by Roberta Score of the National Science Foundation.

1985
October 15: BAS ship John Biscoe trapped in the ice near Antarctic Peninsula

1986
"Footsteps of Scott" expedition arrives at the South Pole, and later departs with much controversy.

Juan Pablo Camacho is born at the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva Base, he is the first Chilean born in Antarctica.

The first female child is born in Antarctica. She is born at Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva Base, and is named Gisella.

January 10: The "Footsteps of Scott" expedition vessel 'MV Southern Quest', which had hove to off Ross Island, is crushed by pack ice and sank 4 miles east of McMurdo. All crew members rescued.
November 23: Civilian Matthew M. Kaz  ITT Employee USARP and Civilian John E. Smith  ITT Employee USARP are both killed when they fall into a crevasse while walking two miles east of McMurdo Station.

1987
109th Air National Guard makes its first deployment to the ice with 2 LC-130 Hercules aircraft. (12 years they will take over VXE-6's mission on the ice).

November 14: Civilian Mark T. MacMillian  Diver USARP. Dies in a diving accident at McMurdo. He is the 50th American to die in the line of duty in Antarctica. 
December 9: LC-130R-1  BUNO 159131 Crashes while landing at Site D-59, a remote site in East Antarctica. There are 11 survivors, although four are seriously injured.
Killed are - LCDR Bruce Bailey, USN, VXE-6; AK2 Donald M. Beatty USN, VXE-6.   

1987/88
Australian Bicentennial Antarctic Expedition completes the first ascent of Mount Minto (4163m).

1989/90
The International Trans-Antarctica Expedition led by Will Steger traveles 3,741 miles by dog sled across the longest axis of Antarctica. Sam the Husky becomes the first dog to travel to both the North and South Poles.

1990
Reinhold Messner, an Italian born adventurer completes the first traverse of Antarctica on foot, via the South Pole 2,800km in 92 days.

March 5: Veteran British Antarctic Survey pilot Giles Kershaw is killed in an ultralight crash on the Jones Ice Shelf near Rothera.

1991
Under pressure from environmentalists, a new clause was incorporated into the Antarctic Treaty and it is decreed that "Dogs shall not be introduced onto land or ice shelves and dogs currently in those areas shall be removed by April 1 1994". 

The Madrid Protocol (Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty) is agreed. This places a 50-year moratorium on mineral exploration and territorial claims.

Antarctic Tourism is created with the creation of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO).  

1992
October 31: UH-1N  BUNO 158249  Crashes in whiteout conditions near Cape Royds. Killed are - AMS1 Benjamin Micou, USN, VXE-6; Civilian Garth Varcoe  New Zealand DSIR TSO NZARP; Civilian Terry Newport  New Zealand DSIR GFE NZARP.  First fatal Helicopter crash on the ice since 1969. 

1994
February: The last 14 Huskies on the continent of Antarctica are finally removed from Rothera Base. Of the 13 dogs that arrived in Canada, 5 die within the first year due to infection and disease. Unfortunately it was not possible to breed from any of the remaining dogs and the last two died in 2001. Sadly, this is the end of an era for the British Antarctic husky dogs. 

Russian scientists detected a large lake beneath 2½ miles of Antarctic ice. It was named Lake Vostok and measured 250km long and 50km wide.

1995
January 30: An un-named US sailor is killed. ChapGru 30 Jan 95  TAD to NAVCHAPGRU for ship offloading. He is killed near Castle Rock.

Vanda Station is officially closed

1996
June 22: It was reported that scientists from Britain and Russia had discovered a freshwater, underground lake beneath an Antarctic glacier about the size of lake Ontario. The lake was believed to be a million years old.
August 6: NASA scientists presented evidence that a meteorite from Mars (ALH 84001) that was found in Antarctica in 1984 contained organic minerals such as carbonate globules, magnetite, iron sulfide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In 2001 Imre Friedmann (1921-2007), extreme microbiologist, led a team of researchers to study the same meteorite and claimed conclusive evidence that Mars had been teeming with life 3.5 billion years ago. Researchers in 2007 said the organic material in the rock was made by chemical reactions.

1997
Small ozone holes are formed over Antarctica.

May: FCCM Charles Gallagher, USN (Ret), dies of an apparent heart attack at McMurdo Station. Gallagher had previously served with NSFA CMC.

1998
Australia confirms that 17 scientists have to date lost their lives at the Australian Antarctic and sub-Antarctic bases (Macquarie and Heard Islands) since 1948.

Russian photographer and scientist Bruno Zehnder loses his way in a white-out while photographing Emperor Penguins and freezes to death a short distance from Mirny Russian Base.

Starting with the 1998-99 austral summer, the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard assumes responsibility for air support in Antarctica in support of the National Science Foundation.

Polish explorer Marek Kaminski, becomes the first man to reach both poles within a year.
February 18: VXE-6 Squadron officially passes the responsibility for the Antarctic Mission to the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard. 
June 2: A Russian helicopter bound for Novolazrevskaya, a Russian Antarctic research station, crashes soon after taking off from the research ship 'Academican Fyodorov'.Killed are 3 expeditioners, 2 helicopter crew and 4 others are seriously injured. 

1999
HMNZS Te Kaha' carries out "Operation Mawson" in the Southern Oceans.
February 8: A French helicopter crashed in Antarctica and 3 people were killed.
March 31: VXE-6 Squadron US Navy is disestablished at a ceremony held at Point Mugu, California.
July 11: A US Air Force cargo jet, braving Antarctic winter, swept down over the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Research Center to drop off emergency medical supplies for Dr. Jerri Nielsen, a physician at the center who had discovered a lump in her breast.
October 16: The 109th AW flys one of its LC-130 Hercules to the South Pole.  This mission is to rescue Dr. Jerry Nielsen. A replacement doctor is flown to the South Pole and the 47-year old woman is uplifted and returned to the United States.

2000 
May: An Australian astrophysicist died at the Amundsen-Scott Base. It was only the 3rd death at the pole in 35 years.

Dr Fiona Hunter of Cambridge University and Dr Lloyd Davis of the University of Otago, record the first examples of bird "prostitution" in colonies of Adelie penguins on Ross Island. They observe how male Adelies pay for sexual favours with rocks and stones, a limited resource that can prove crucial for the survival of broods. "Females have figured out that one way to steal the stones without being attacked is to swap copulations for them." said Dr Hunter.

March: Iceberg No B-15A, a 3,000-square-kilometer (1,200-square-mile) behemoth breaks away. It is the largest fragment of a much larger iceberg that breaks away from the Ross Ice Shelf. Scientists believe that the enormous piece of ice broke away as part of a long-term natural cycle (every 50-to-100 years, or so) in which the shelf, which is roughly the size of Texas, sheds pieces much as human fingernails grow and break off.
Sit/Rep Iceberg B-15A
This year, B-15A has trapped sea ice in McMurdo Sound. The currents that normally break the ice into pieces and sweep it out into the Ross Sea have not been able to clean out
the Sound, so winter's thick ice remains intact.

The build-up of ice presents significant problems for Antarctic residents. Penguins must now swim great distances to reach open waters and food. Adult penguins may not be able
to make the trip and return with food for their young. As a result, many chicks could starve, says Antarctica New Zealand, the government organization that overseas New
Zealand's Antarctic research, in the Associated Press.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) officials said that the B-15A iceberg and the frozen Sound will not interfere with supply ship access to McMurdo Station, the U. S. logistics
hub for much of the nation's research activity in Antarctica. Forty miles of ice typically separate the pier at McMurdo from the open sea, but this year the ice stretched 80 miles from
the station. So far, the extra ice has not been a problem. The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star left Seattle, Washington, on Nov. 4 and docked at McMurdo in early January
after cutting a channel through the ice for supply ships.
August 20: Sir Peter Blake and Cousteau Society part over Antarctic Expedition Plans.  Earlier this year the noted New Zealand yachtsman Sir Peter Blake was apointed to head the International Cousteau Society.   This week it was announced that plans for an Antarctic trip led by Blake in the specially build polar yacht "Arctic Explorer" would no longer be done as  a Cousteau Society event. The Antarctic expedition will still go ahead but it will now be done by "Blakexpeditions" according to spokeman Alan Sefton. The vessel is to be renamed "Seamaster" and will depart for the Antarctic and the Antarctic Peninsula after a tour around New Zealand Ports to drum up support.
September 8: The regular Chinese Antarctic expedition vessel "Xue long" is currently undergoing repairs and modifications and won't make the usual long trip via Fremantle to China's Antarctic Great Wall and Zhongshan Stations this season. It is understood that arrangements have been made for Chinese expeditioneers to travel south with the Australians in their chartered Antarctic support vessel  "Polar Bird" from Fremantle. Obviously similar arrangements will have to be made with a nation to resupply   Great Wall Station. The most likely is Chile.
October 16: Deep Ice Drilling in the Antarctic.  United States scientists will be participating this season with the international deep drilling programme at Lake Vostok near the Russian Vostok Antarctic station. The project is to drill several thousand meters down through the ice cap into a newly discovered lake (Lake Vostok) which sits beneath the ice and on top of the continental land mass. Scientists are excited about the potential of being able to tap into a very large lake of water which has never had the chance to be contaminated with man made pollutants. Scientists will also be using the lake as a test bed for various equipment  testing for presence of any life. This equipment is being developed to eventually be used to test for life on other planets.  Recent reports are that US scientists have discovered another lake under the ice cap situated only a few kilometers (Less than 10) from the Amundsen Scott South Pole Station. US Scientists intend that any techniques/problems learnt at Lake Vostok will be applied in subsequent drilling at the un-named South Pole Lake.
October 16: The "Sir Hubert Wilkins", the ex Finish State Royal Yacht now owned by the Australian company "Ocean Frontiers" Antarctic Tourism company arrived at Lyttelton today. The two company principals Don and Margie McIntyre, who are travelling on board say that the vessel is to undergo extensive repairs and modifications while in Lyttelton. This will include a period spent in the Lyttelton dry dock. When she arrived the vessel sported her new name of "Sir Hubert Wilkins" but was still listed in the shipping list of the Port campany under her previous name of "Tuka".  Her paintwork shows an amount of rust and does not yet feature the distinctive Red slash and Australian flag hull design as in her promotional brochures. She is scheduled to leave Lyttelton on 15th November so this month will probably be used to apply the new colour scheme as well as fit other equipment for her new Antarctic tourism role.
November 14: Today saw the first RNZAF C130 Hercules flight to McMurdo Sound and the ice runway. This is the first of about 19 scheduled flights by the New Zealand Air Force.  Meanwhile the Italian Air Force Hercules allocated for Antarctic supply duty  broke down last week. It has been handed over to the Air New Zealand engineering workshops at Christchurch for repairs to enable it to participate in flights to Antarctica. These workshops are one of the few around the world fully accredited by the Hercules Aircraft makers, Lockhead to do major overhaul work on Hercules aircraft.  Two helicopters chartered by the Italians from Helicopters NZ Ltd which were to be transported south inside the Italian Hercules have now been released back to their owners. While the Italian programme already has two helicopters situated at Terra Nova Bay, their main Antarctic Base, the lack of the extra two aircraft has already meant the deletion of some proposed events including drilling on the sea ice.

2001
February 11: Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen became the 1st women to cross the Antarctic land mass on skis.
March 26: It was reported that scientists had detected high-energy neutrinos for the 1st time in the Antarctic Muon and neutrino Detector Array (Amanda).
April 13: ANOTHER SICK SOUTH POLE DOCTOR. It was announced today that the US National Science Foundation have requested that the USAF Air National Guard make plans for a possible medevac of the current South Pole Station doctor who is suffering from Pancreatitis.  Dr Ronald Shemenski (59) will be evacuated by LC130 aircraft if possible in the next few days as soon as the aircraft have arrived from their base in Scotia, New York.
April 21: It was announced that the planned South Pole Medevac for Doctor Shemenski has now been put on hold as the medical condition of Dr Shemeniski has improved. Earlier plans for a medevac from the South Pole through Christchurch using USAF ski equipped Hercules were changed as temperatures dropped to a 2 plane Twin Otter medevac from Punta Arenas via Rothera Base. Bad weather in Punta Atrenas and on the flight path had held up these plans and with the improvements to Dr Shemenski these plans have now been put on hold.  Meanwhile it has been announced in Christchurch that the RNZAF will attempt a Medevac from McMurdo on Monday 23rd April of 5 American personnel needing medical treatment in Christchurch. A RNZAF Hercules will leave Christchurch before dawn and arrive at McMurdo at 1pm during the short 1 hour of daylight gtime before returning immediately to Christchurch with the 5 American personnel.
April 23: Rescue plane lands in Antarctica  Plane landed at a U.S. Antarctic research station to rescue 4 ailing Americans.
April 24: 2nd Antarctic rescue flight  A new flight left an Antarctic for the South Pole on to pick up an ailing American doctor
April 24: A Twin Otter plane landed at the Amundsen-Scott south Pole Station to pick up Dr. Ronald Shemenski (59), who suffered from a gall bladder attack. A C-130 Hercules from the New Zealand air force rescued 2 Americans from the McMurdo Antarctic Base.
April 25: Ailing doctor arrives in station  A plane bringing Dr. Shemenski back for medical treatment arrived at the British Antarctic station
October 18: AMERICAN ICEBREAKER STUCK IN ICE.  News comes today that the American research icebreaker "Nathaniel B Palmer" is stuck fast in the ice near the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship is about 60 miles from the ice edge and wedged between Adelaide and Alexander Islands with rafts of sea ice 65 feet deep around it.  Last week after the ice science camp was called back into the ship by radio, they watched as the entire camp was swallowed by the rafting ice. The ship is hoping on getting a powerful wind from the South East to help them in their predicament as they are scheduled to arrive in Punta's Arenas, Chile on October 19th.
December 29: Thousands of Antarctic penguins were reported dead or dying due to giant icebergs that cut the birds off from their food supply.

2002
March 18: Scientists reported that the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica, covering some 1,250 square miles, had collapsed into small icebergs over the last 35 days.
June 14: More than 100 awaiting rescue  100 people, including 79 Russian scientists, are trapped on a ship stuck in ice for at least the next 11 days
June 25: The Argentine icebreaker 'Almirante Irizar' is dispatched to the Antarctic sector where the German vessel, 'Magdalena Oldendorff', has been trapped since June 11th.
June 27: Rescue helicopters from the South African ship Agulhas picked up 21 Russian scientists from the Magdalena Oldendorff, trapped in ice near Antarctica. 1,100 pounds of food was delivered to the remaining 86 people. Another 48 were rescued the next day.
November 19: We understand that Adventure Networks International's Basler DC3 aircraft has been severely damaged if not wrecked in a storm at Patriot hills recently when its tethering came adrift and the aircraft is now left in pieces on the ground.  This unusual turbo-prop DC3 on skis has been the mainstay in recent years for ANI's transport of groups between Patriot Hiills and their two main tourist destinations of the South Pole and and the Vinson Masiff climbing region.
December: New Zealand Antarctic Veterans Association is formed.
December 1: WHALING PROTEST VESSEL TO CONFRONT JAPANESE WHALERS, The international conservation organisation "Sea Sheppard" was formed in 1977 when a group of ex Greenpeace people wanting more direct action split away from Greenpeace. The group has a vessel called "Farley Mowat" (Originally a Norwegian fishing vessel) and now registered in Canada which is currently in Auckland . The "Farley Mowat" has a crew of 40 with Captain Paul Watson who has indicated that the vessel will leave for Antarctic waters in about 1 weeks time to search for the Japanese Whaling fleet which has been reported as headed for the Ross Sea.  NZ Police and customs  last week inspected the vessel after a report that it carried explosives on board as well as being fitted with torpedoes. In actual fact the vessel had a large plastic imitation torpedo on board and no explosives so it has been given a clearance.  Co-incidentally the Japanese Whaling research ship Shonan Maru no 2 is in Hobart for legitimate whale research sponsored by the International Whaling Commission.
December 16: CRUISE LINER DAMAGED, The Radisson Seven Seas cruise liner "Hanseatic" has suffered considerable damage during her recent Southern Ocean cruise to Antarctica south of New Zealand. The 8,378 tons vessel has the highest posible (1A1 Super) ice rating for a cruise liner. It is understood that the vessel had deck equipment including a radar dome swept away by a rogue wave which also broke the bridge window as shown at right.  The "Hanseatic" which was scheduled to berth in Bluff but has instead been diverted to Lyttelton arriving Monday 15th December for urgent repairs. At this stage she is expected to remain in Lyttelton until the 21st of December. Her next scheduled cruise starts from Ushuaia on January 15th 2003 going to the Antarctic Peninsula

2003
BAS scientist Kirsty Margot Brown is attacked by a leopard seal and killed while snorkeling near the BAS base at Rothera.
May 12: The New Zealand Government announced recently that a new field store was to be built at Scott Base next summer. The two storey 1800 square metre building which will be the largest building constructed at Scott Base since 1956 will be heated throughout unlike the current ex aircraft hanger store built in 1960 which was constantly frozen.
May 12: Sad news came today with the death anounced of Rev. Father John Coleman.  John who was the Catholic priest at Sumner's "Star of the Sea" church in Christchurch was for many years right up until 2002 the person responsible for organising the rota of 4 ministers who served at the "Chapel of the Snows" Church in McMurdo each season. John himself had served as minister at McMurdo many times over the past 20 years and was a keen member of the New Zealand Antarctic Society and a good Antarctic photographer. He was responsible for many Antarctic calendars.
August 19: News comes from Australia that the Australian fisheries protection vessel "Southern Supporter" is currently in persuit of  a Uruguayan flagged fishing vessel which is alleged to have been illegally fishing in waters around Heard Island to the far south of Australia. The Uruguayan vessel is reported to have tried to escape by heading towards the Antarctic ice pack with the "Southern Supporter" following.  It is understood that the South African vessel "Agulhas" which is equipped with a helicopter may now be heading towards the same area to assist the "Southern Supporter".
September 14: Currently a complicated series of flights are underway to rescue a sick Raytheon employee from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Because of low temperatures and lack of daylight the American South Pole Station is normally cut off until November but as the patients condition has worsened it has been decided to commence a medivac. On Friday 12th September two twin otter aircraft arrived in Punta Arenas from Canada to instigate the rescue. They will fly from there to the British Rothera Base for refueling before flying onto the South Pole. Provisional plans then call for one of the Twin Otters to fly the patient to McMurdo Base where he will be picked up there by a RNZAF Hercules and brought to Christchurch where he will be hospitalised. It is also possible depending on weather etc that the patient will be evacuated to Punta Arenas
October 20: The massive B-15 Iceberg which broke off the Ross Ice shelf and grounded to the East of Ross Island causing a severe change in climate in the Ross Sea is now reported to have broken in half. Satellite photos show it has broken into two main parts approximately 80km and 40 km long. McMurdo shipping experts are keeping a close watch on the parts to see if this development will help or hinder this seasons Icebreaker attempt to break into McMurdo. As a contingency the US Antarctic program has ordered several extra miles of rubber hose. Last season's supply tanker was forced to anchor at the ice edge and transfer its fuel to McMurdo by hose over several km of ice and this season it is possible that an even longer fuel transfer will be necessary.
November 14: The US Icebreaker/ research ship "Nathaniel B. Palmer" suffered serious damage a week ago in the Ross Sea and was stuck for some time in the ice 400 miles north of McMurdo. She has subsequently freed herself and is now limping on two of her four engines back to Lyttelton for major repairs which reportedly will require the removal of the two damaged engines by cutting holes in her main deck.

2004
A Polish teenager who lost a hand and a leg in an electrical accident pulled off a double on New Year's Eve 2004, by reaching the South Pole on foot after conquering the North Pole in April. Apart from his unique performance as a disabled explorer, 16-year-old high school pupil Janek Mela became the youngest person ever to conquer both poles within a year, Polish state television said. Mela, injured two years ago, walked to the poles using an artificial leg as part of an expedition led by Polish explorer Marek Kaminski.
April 9: US plane in rescue bid.  An Air Force C-141 transporter jet has rescued at least one sick worker from a South Pole research station

2005
February 7: The very last flight was made to the Ice by a USAF C-141 Starlifter departed from Christchurch. The Starlifter has operated in the Antarctic since 1966.
mid-December: Environmental Scientist Paul Goldsworthy took The Melbourne '06 Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton on its first trip under ice at Brown Bay, Antarctica.
November - December: Norwegian Rune Gjeldnes solo unaided crossing of Antarctica on skis.  Starting from Novolasarevskaja science station in Queen Mauds Land on the 6th November 2005, Norwegian Rune Gjeldnes crossed Antarctica alone and unaided on skis, using a kite to pull him and his sledge when the winds on the plateau were favourable.  Rune reached the South Pole, 2207 km, on the 20th December 2005 at 12.46 GMT.  He completed his journey at Terra Nova on the 3rd February  2006, having covered a total of 4804 km.  He was uplifted three weeks later by Heritage Expeditions, NZ aboard the Spirit of Enderby.  Rune's day by day adventure is chronicled at http://www.extreme-planet.com/exp/seal/news.asp. 
With his crossing of Antarctica, Rune has become the first person to ski unaided the length of Greenland, across the Artic Ocean, and across Antarctica.

2006
January 15: It has been learned that the Fesco operated icebreaker "Krasin" which has been chartered by the US National Science Foundation to break into McMurdo this season has lost a blade (Paddle) off its propellor and while the vessel carries a spare propeller it can't be fitted unless the vessel returns to New Zealand. This will take at least 2 weeks and leaves McMurdo without a dedicated icebreaker at a critical time. In the interim, the US supply vessel "American Tern" remained in Lyttelton until the 18th of January awaiting developments.
January 16: For the first time a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion with a crew of 13 has landed on the ice runways of Antarctica.  The P3-K Orion, from No 5 Squadron, was conducting a trial flight which will determine the feasibility of conducting patrols from Antarctica in support of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).  The Defence Force said planning for the trial flight began nearly two years ago and was not a result of the protest activity by Greenpeace, in the Southern Ocean, which is currently out of the range of the Orion.
September 4: The Prime Minister of New Zealand announces the establishment of the New Zealand Antarctic Medal to be awarded to those New Zealanders and other persons who either individually or as members of a New Zealand programme in the Antarctic region have made an outstanding contribution to exploration, scientific research, conservation, environmental protection, or knowledge of the Antarctic region; or in support of New Zealand's objectives or operations, or both, in the Antarctic region. The Medal will not be awarded for acts of bravery, for short-term acts of extreme endurance, for long service or for service in Antarctica generally (For moe information see the page at the Honours Secretariat.
November: Over 100 Icebergs of varying size up to 1Km wide have travelled north and are floating a few Kms off the coast of New Zealand's city of Dunedin.  This is the first time in over 70 years that this has happened

2007
January: In Antarctica the South Pole Telescope (SPT) opened to search signs of dark energy.
February 12: A Japanese whaling ship issued a distress signal from Antarctic waters, after it collided with a protest boat trying to save whales from slaughter.
February 15: Officials warned of a potential environmental disaster in Antarctica after fire erupted on a Japanese whaling ship, as the search continued for a missing crewmen from the crippled ship. The next day Japanese officials said the ship posed no environmental threat.
May 17: The journal "Science" reported that Antarctica’s Southern Ocean, a crucial "carbon sink" into which 15 percent of the world's excess carbon dioxide flows, is reaching saturation and soon may be unable to absorb more, a deeply troubling development.
June 4: First New Zealand Antarctic Medal (NZAM) awarded, to geophysicist Dr Fred Davey.
September 5: The Belgian-based International Polar Foundation unveiled what it claimed to be the world's first zero-emissions polar science station in Antarctica to conduct research on climate change.
November 10: UN chief sees Antarctic meltdown.  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Antarctica to see firsthand the impact of climate change and the melting of glaciers.
November 24: More than 150 passengers and crew escaped unhurt after their cruise ship MS EXPLORER hit ice in the Antarctic and started sinking. A Norwegian passenger ship in the area safely picked up all 150 occupants of the Explorer from the lifeboats they used to flee the ship when it ran into problems off King George Island in Antarctica at 12:24 a.m. EST.
November 26: The ship EXPLORER sinks

2008
January 10: It is noted with extreme sadness the passing of Sir Edmund Hillary, who had been our Patron for many years.  Further information on his exploits can be found on his biography
January 11: A historic passenger jet flight from Australia to Antarctica touched down smoothly on a blue ice runway, launching the only regular airlink between the continents.
January 12: Greenpeace said its protest ship located Japan's whaling fleet in Antarctic waters and is pursuing it to stop the hunt for the giant sea creatures.
January 12: America formally opened its new $174 million base at the south Pole. It took almost 20 years to design and build.
January 15: Giles Lane, 35, and an Australian activist, Benjamin Potts, 28, members of the militant environmental group Sea Shepherd, were held after throwing acid bombs and ropes to forcibly board the Yushin Maru No 2, Japanese officials said.  It is claimed that the pair had been taken hostage, beaten and tied to a railing, a claim vehemently denied by the Japanese. However, photographs show Mr Potts tied up with a rope and tethered to railings along the ship’s deck. 
January 16: Whalers accused of kidnapping activists.  An anti-whaling group is accusing the crew of a vessel of kidnapping 2 activists who climbed on board the ship to try to stop its whaling operations
February 28: In western Antarctica a 160-square mile chunk of ice on the edge of the Wilkins ice shelf began collapsing. It had been there for some 1,500 years.
March 26: Massive ice shelf on verge of breakup.  Some 220 square miles of ice has collapsed and an ice shelf about seven times the size of Manhattan is 'hanging by a thread'

2009
September 21: An RNZAF Hercules and its crew are on a rescue mission to evacuate an American man with heart problems in Antarctica.  The Air Force said the rescue team, including two NZ Defence Force medics and two civilian medical staff, set off from Christchurch around 7am this morning.  The man is in Antarctica as part of the United States Antarctic Programme (USAP) and is believed to be in a serious but stable condition

2010
January 8: The anti-whaling boat that was sliced in two on Wednesday in a collision with a Japanese whaling ship sank in the Antarctic today, ending a frantic effort to salvage the $1.8m (£1.1m) craft.  The Ady Gil,a 24-metre (78ft) catamaran belonging to the Sea Shepherd marine conservation group, sank two days after it was battered by the fleet's security ship, the Shonan Maru No 2, in the most violent confrontation between whalers and activists for six years.  The boat lost a large section of its bow in the collision, and one of its six crew sustained minor injuries. The whaling ship was not damagedEach side has blamed the other for the collision, although video footage (below) appears to support Sea Shepherd's claims that the Ady Gil was struck deliberately.  The partially submerged boat was being towed by another Sea Shepherd ship, the Bob Barker, to a French research base 185 miles (300km) to the south when its tow rope snapped early this morning.
March 1: The calving of a massive iceberg off east Antarctica last week has prompted fears that the event could alter the salinity of the surrounding ocean, with damaging effects on marine life and global ocean currents.  The 860-billion-tonne berg, with a surface area of about 2500 square kilometres, had formed 50 per cent of a 100-kilometre tongue poking out of the Mertz glacier.

2011
April 11: The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is affecting weather patterns across the entire Southern Hemisphere, according to a new scientific study.  The findings published by researchers from Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science is, they say, the first to demonstrate how ozone depletion in the polar region influences tropical circulation and increases rainfall at lower latitudes.
September 14: King crabs invade Antarctica; three-feet-wide red monsters that devour everything in their path — have invaded Antarctica. While it sounds a little like a horror movie, it's actually a large scale global warming problem. According to the New Scientist, three years ago, scientists had predicted that this would happen, but they believed the earth would have warmed to this degree in the next 100 years.  The earth has warmed a little earlier than they predicted. According to Craig Smith, a professor of oceanography at the University of Hawaii, whose team discovered the relocation, millions of these crabs have begun to crawl around by Antarctica. The crabs were known to inhabit the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand, but now they can be found south of South America. Worse, they're wiping out local wildlife, and causing large scale destruction where they go, reports the New Scientist.

2012
December 29: After his death on the frozen edge of Antarctica, Captain Robert Scott was celebrated as a British hero – only to be later condemned for leading his South Pole expedition to disaster.  Now a new analysis of his ill-fated return from the pole has shifted the blame to the men under his command – and claims it was their errors which meant he and his fellow explorers died.  Researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Scott Polar Research Institute say that if the men left by Scott to run the base camp in his absence had followed crucial orders, the expedition could have returned safely.

2013
January 27: The wreckage of a Twin Otter aircraft that had gone missing in the Antarctic has been found—and there is no hope that any of the three Canadian crew members are still alive.  The plane, which was to have been used as part of Italy’s polar research program, crashed on 23 January but bad weather prevented rescuers from reaching it. At about 6:15 GMT on Saturday, two helicopter crews finally surveyed the crash site from the air and discovered that the aircraft wreckage is on a very steep slope at a height of 3900 meters. It lies close to the summit of Mount Elizabeth in the Queen Alexandra mountain range, some 700 kilometers from both the South Pole and McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center.  The dead were 55-year-old Bob Heath, of Inuvik, N.W.T., 36-year-old Perry Andersen, of Collingwood, Ont., and 25-year-old Mike Denton of Calgary
February 25: Sir Ranulph Fiennes has pulled out of an expedition to cross Antarctica during the region's winter after developing a severe case of frostbite.  The 68-year-old and his five-member team had hoped to conquer what has been called one of the last great polar challenges - traversing nearly 2,500 miles in a place where temperatures often dip as low as minus 70 Celsius.
April 20: As the clouds descend it becomes almost impossible to tell where the sky ends and terra firma begins. The only way to maintain a grip on reality is to concentrate on the rhythm of putting one ski in front of another, keeping the words of my mother's motivational letter in mind. "Do not look back – keep looking ahead."
July 6: A giant lake buried more than two miles beneath the Antarctic ice has been found to contain a "surprising" variety of life.  Analysis of ice cores obtained from the basin of Lake Vostok, the subglacial lake that Russian scientists drilled down to in 2012, have revealed DNA from an estimated 3,507 organisms.  While the majority were found to be bacteria, many of which were new to science, there were also other single celled organisms and multicellular organisms found, including from fungi.
August 7: Microbes that live inside fish intestines are among the array of life that appear to have been found in ice drilled from above Lake Vostok, the deepest lake buried beneath Antarctica's ice sheet.  The ice is thought to be from frozen Vostok lake water, chilled by contact with the lake's overlying glacier. Called accretion ice, scientists first reported evidence of microbes in this ice in the journal Science in 1999. In some spots above the lake, the accretion ice is more than 650 feet (200 meters) thick and 20,000 years old, scientists believe. Though ice has sealed the surface for up to 15 million years, subglacial waterways may have refreshed the lake and even brought in life from outside the basin, scientists think.
Septmber 3: Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Joanna Lumley are to auction off a host of celebrity “treasures” to help bring five “semi-marooned” explorers safely back from “hell on Earth” in their record-breaking Antarctic expedition.  The men, part of The Coldest Journey expedition begun by Sir Ranulph, have been stationed in a “horrifically dangerous area” since February after encountering difficulties while trying to be the first to cross the Antarctic during the Polar winter
September 24: New Zealand's flagship airline, Air New Zealand, plans to fly planes to Antarctica that would land on an ice runway.  But tourists wanting to travel to the frozen continent shouldn't pack their bags just yet. The chartered Air New Zealand flights would be for scientists and their support crews, and the airline said it had no plans to begin commercial trips.
September 25: The expedition cruise company Aurora Expeditions has introduced a “polar snorkelling” option to its latest adventure trips to the southerly extreme of the planet. Describing it as a “ground breaking new activity”, the Australian-owned company says the snorkel outings will “provide passengers with the opportunity to explore the icy waters alongside penguins, seals and whales.”  The trips will be led by expert polar diving guides from a separate company, Waterproof Expeditions. Those taking part would use drysuits designed for snorkelling, as well as gloves, hood, weight belt, fins, mask and snorkel.
October 7: A sprawling network of low-lying canals, similar to a swamp, hides under Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, a new study finds.  The fast-flowing Thwaites Glacier is one of the largest ice streams in West Antarctica. Scientists think Thwaites could significantly retreat in the next 20 years, adding to global sea level rise. Knowing the extent of the waterways underneath Thwaites will help researchers model the glacier's ebb and flow, because the water lubricates the ice.
October 8: The National Science Foundation (NSF) is responsible for managing and coordinating the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) on behalf of the nation. This includes providing support personnel and facilities and coordinating transportation and other logistics for scientific research. Due to the lapse in appropriation, funds for this support will be depleted on or about October 14, 2013.  Without additional funding, NSF has directed its Antarctic support contractor to begin planning and implementing caretaker status for research stations, ships and other assets. The agency is required to take this step as a result of the absence of appropriation and the Antideficiency Act.  Under caretaker status, the USAP will be staffed at a minimal level to ensure human safety and preserve government property, including the three primary research stations, ships and associated research facilities. All field and research activities not essential to human safety and preservation of property will be suspended.  As NSF moves to caretaker status, it will also develop the information needed to restore the 2013-14 austral summer research program to the maximum extent possible, once an appropriation materializes. It is important to note, however, that some activities cannot be restarted once seasonally dependent windows for research and operations have passed, the seasonal workforce is released, science activities are curtailed and operations are reduced.  NSF remains committed to protecting the safety and health of its deployed personnel and to its stewardship of the USAP under these challenging circumstances.
October 9: The Air Force is investigating the circumstances which led to an unorthodox landing in Antarctica.  Foreign Minister Murray McCully was on board the RNZAF Boeing 757 along with 116 other passengers and 11 RNZAF crew when challenging weather conditions forced a two and a half hour landing delay.  The pilot called Mr McCully to the cockpit to explain his predicament before using up most of the fuel and carrying out a white-out landing.
November 7: When the Larsen A ice shelf in Antarctica disintegrated almost two decades ago, the influx of sunlight breathed new life into the marine environment below. But now, the benthos, or seafloor life, is changing much more rapidly than scientists thought possible, according to a new study.  In particular, populations of glass sponges (Hexactinellida) — animals previously believed to grow and reproduce very slowly — have tripled between 2007 and 2011, allowing them to completely take over the seafloor.
November 14: Prince Harry, who is patron of Walking With The Wounded, launched the charity's South Pole Allied Challenge in Trafalgar Square today.  Three seven-man teams from the UK, Commonwealth and USA – each with four injured service personnel among them – will depart London for Cape Town on Sunday on the first leg of their journey to the South Pole.  Prince Harry will race with the British team, and will join them as they head south later this month and will aim to finish the trek by Christmas.

2014
November 13: Kenneth Sims is a geologist who specializes in using naturally occurring radiogenic isotopes to study Earth processes. Not the sort of high-tech job that one would think requires lugging a sledgehammer to a rock outcrop in Antarctica.
December 5: For two decades, scientists have kept a close watch on a vast, icebound corner of West Antarctica that is undergoing a historic thaw. Climate experts have predicted that, centuries from now, the region's mile-thick ice sheet could collapse and raise sea levels as much as 3.3 metres
December 8: Scientists investigating the declining population of Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea have found the species in greater numbers than expected.  A team from the University of Canterbury, NIWA and the University of Illinois conducted a fishing expedition in McMurdo Sound recently and found despite previous estimates from four decades of research of a radical drop, they predatory fish was relatively easy to catch.  Professor Art DeVries of the University of Illinois proposed in 2003 commercial fishing since 1997 contributed to their population's reduction.
December 8: Dust from a comet has been discovered on the Earth's surface for the first time, locked inside the ancient ice sheet that covers Antarctica. The discovery is expected to reveal new clues about how our solar system formed as scientists study the tiny comet particles more closely.  Researchers found the comet dust after drilling almost 58 feet (17 metres) into the Antarctic snow at a place called Tottuki Point, around 10 miles north of the Japanese Syowa Research Station.
December 14: International researchers have analyzed the DNA of two Antarctic penguin species for the first time to find out what it is in their genetic makeup that allows them to adapt to extremely low temperatures, high winds and significant swings in daylight.  Adélie and emperor penguins were the focus of the study published in the open data journal GigaScience.
December 30: Russian Divers – led by Dimitri Schiller – were part of the “Antarctica 100″ expedition of the Russian Geographical Society. The whole project was created to develop safe deep diving methods in Antarctic conditions as well as to test the teams diving equipment.  The project’s objective was to develop relatively safe methods of deep diving in the Antarctic conditions to improve the effectiveness of underwater exploration. In addition, the team was testing Russian diving equipment.  On 10th December the team leader Dmitry Schiller dived 97m into the Antarctic waters near Deception Island, a ring-shaped caldera of a struck volcano
December 31: There has been reports of earthquakes near the Dome Fuji Research station, one of the most inland stations on the continent.

2015
January 2: Passengers aboard the Qantas 747-400, chartered for the night by Antarctica Flights, were surprised to be greeted by the sight of Mt Erebus erupting as the plane flew over Ross Island around 2am on New Year's Day, brilliantly illuminated because of the perpetual summer light in this southern version of the Land of the Midnight Sun.

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Bibliography:

This timeline was created using all available resources and also includes information shamelessly purlioned from the US Navy; VXE-6 Squadron USN; Scott Base; Royal New Zealand Navy; Royal New Zealand Air Force; New Zealand Army; Log of HMNZS Endeavour; Log of HMNZS Pukaki; Log of HMNZS; Log of HMNZS Rotoiti; Log of HMNZS Hawea; NZ Army Cargo Handlers/Ice Cargo/Hill Cargo and Willy Field; Archives of the New Zealand Antarctic Veterans Association; Old Antarctic Explorers - The OAE's; Cooks Journals;  The Antarctic Sun; South Pole Station; History of organization of the first Soviet/Russian Antarctic expedition 1955  1957 N. Kornilov; Of Dogs and Men by Kevin Walton & Rick Atkinson; The Royal Geographic Society; US Army Observer's Report of Operation Highjump, Siple, et al, 1947; CASA Final Report DF-61; Chaplain's MWR Input, Antarctic Journal of the United States (AJUS), Vol I (1966), Mar-Apr #2; New Zealand Antarctic Society Bulletin; Mike Subritzky's Dairy 1973; NASU Christchurch, USN Decommissioning Ceremony Brochure 1998; Polar Times; Antarctica, An Encyclopedia, Volumes I and II, John Stewart, 1990; Reuters; Encyclopaedia Britannica; McMurdo Library; 20 Years on the Ice, VXE-6 Cruise Book, 1975; and the outstanding archives of "Billy-Ace" Penguin Baker USN (ret), OAE.

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