SANAE IV station in Antarctica lies at 71°S, 2°W – 4280 km from East Pier in Cape Town Harbour. SANAE IV base is built at Vesleskarvet, 220 km due South of SANAE III. South Africa occupies a base, SANAE IV, about 200 Km inland and 850 m above sea level on a nunatak called Vesleskarvet (‘little barren mountain’). Completed in 1997, this well-resourced facility replaced three others that were all built on the Fimbulisen Ice Shelf (SANAE I in 1962, SANAE II in 1971 and SANAE III in 1979). Having lost each previous base to the moving ice shelf, SANAE IV was built on more solid ground and with an improved, ultra-modern design, including a helicopter hanger.
South Africa became directly involved with Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-1958, when an international science project triggered an intense period of Antarctic research. The first team to cross Antarctica overland in 1958 counted a South African meteorologist, Hannes la Grange, as one of its members. A true pioneer, la Grange not only took the South African flag to the South Pole but went on to lead the first South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE 1) in the summer of 1959/1960. Taking over an abandoned Norwegian base on the edge of an ice shelf in Dronning Maudland, this expedition established a permanent South African presence on the continent that continues to this day.
“After running around the clock for 18 years, it was finally time to refurbish the base and equipment in South Africa’s SANAE IV base in Antarctica – no easy task considering the remote location and extreme weather conditions” in SANAE IV Antarctica Refurbishment: Meticulously planned, carefully executed article in RACA (Refrigeration and Air Conditioning) Journal (January 2019, Volume 34, No 11) by Ilana Koegelenberg.
Final report : comments and responses on the draft comprehensive environmental evaluation (CEE) of the proposed new SANAE IV facility at Vesleskarvet, Queen Maud Land, Antarctica by P Claassen, PA Sharp. and JC Agenbach.
Photo Credits : Adriaan Dreyer (images available on ALSA Archive)