Antarctic Record (Mar 1999)

Activities of the wintering party at Syowa Station by the 38th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition, 1997 - 1998

  • Takashi Yamanouchi

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 43, no. 1
pp. 58 – 95


Read online

The 38th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE) dispatched two wintering parties, to Syowa and Dome Fuji Stations, respectively, in Antarctica. This report describes the activities of the JARE-38 wintering party at Syowa Station. The wintering party at Syowa Station consisting of 31 personnel, carried out observation programs from February 1,1997 to January 31,1998. Many observations were conducted under both the routine observation program and two special research programs, called the "project observation program" and the "monitoring observation program". The major projects were "Structure and Evolution of East Antarctic Lithosphere project", of which a large part was conducted in the Amundsen Bay area by the summer party, and the "observation project on Atmospheric Circulation and Material Cycle in the Antarctic", of which part was conducted at Dome Fuji Station. Long term monitoring of the global environment, such as observations of atmospheric minor constituents and ecological monitoring, were conducted together with auroral optical observation and seismological observation which had been continued under the routine program. Field surveys of geophysics and ecology on the bare rock areas were frequently conducted, as well as geophysical traverse observations were made on the route from Syowa to Mizuho Station. Extensive airborne observations were made using small aircraft. In order to support the wintering at Dome Fuji Station, 1000km from Syowa Station, together with a trip to transport wintering members and supplies in the austral summer, another supply trip to Dome Fuji was carried out to transport supplies and fuel in the austral spring of 1997. Eight members from Syowa Station joined the trip which took 44 days in October and November. Logistic support for these observation programs and field operations was also a large task for the party. Following the plan to repair the station, construction of a new living hut was started in summer and completed in June, enabled 21 personnel to live in comfort. Station facilities have been greatly improved; however, more maintenance work is needed. Maintenance of over snow vehicles for field observation and preparation for the long traverse trip was also a large part of logistic work. For environmental protection, old buildings were demolished and waste was brought back to Japan. At the end of November, sudden illness occurred at the station, urgent arrival of RV SHIRASE was requested and the patient was transported to Cape Town, South Africa, and then to Japan.