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The historical development of McMurdo station, Antarctica, an environmental perspective

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McMurdo Station is the logistics hub of the United States Antarctic Program, and localized environmental impacts have accompanied its nearly 50 years of continuous operation. An extensive collection of aerial photographs were used to map changes in the buildings, fuel storage tanks, roads, and physically disturbed areas at McMurdo Station since its establishment in 1956. From 1956 and continuing through the 1960s, rapid expansion of the station occurred. From 1970 until present, the area impacted by human activities has increased but at a much decreased rate. Current station operations are largely confined to areas that had already been impacted in the first 10-15 years of the station operations. The spatio-temporal perspective on McMurdo Station's growth provides a baseline from which future changes in the spatial extent of areas impacted by human activities can be monitored as required by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA 2: Geochemical and Environmental Research Group, Texas A&M, College Station, TX, USA 3: Uniondale High School, Uniondale, New York, USA

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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