10 Most Southern Human Settlements On Earth
The Southern Hemisphere is the part of Earth that lies south of the equator. The word hemisphere (from the Greek word σφαιρα (sphere) +ημι (half)) literally means ‘half ball’ or “half sphere”. It is also that half of the celestial sphere south of the celestial equator. “The southernmost city in the world” is mainly a slogan used for tourism to attract visitors to the city as well as the tourists headed for Antarctica. Currently three cities or towns use this slogan: Ushuaia in Argentina as well as Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams in Chile. There are several more settlements further south but none are considered to be large enough to be classified as a ‘city’. I thought it would be nice to include research labs as well, after all, that’s certainly spots where people live and work.
1. Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station
• Latitude: 90°00′S
• Population: 200 (during summer)
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station light night exposure documentary photography sky night
The Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is the American scientific research station on the high plateau of Antarctica. This station is located at the southernmost place on the Earth, the Geographic South Pole, at an elevation of 2,835 meters (9301 feet) above sea level. Since the Amundsen-Scott Station is located at the South Pole, it is at the only place on the land surface of the Earth where the sun is continuously up for six months and then continuously down for six months. (The only other such place is at the North Pole, on the sea ice in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.) Thus, during each year, this station experiences one extremely long “day” and one extremely long “night”. During the six-month “day”, the angle of elevation of the Sun above thehorizon varies continuously.
photo from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amundsen-Scott_South_Pole_Station
During the six-month “night”, it gets extremely cold at the South Pole, with air temperatures sometimes dropping below −73 °C (−100 °F). This is also the time of the year when blizzards, sometimes with gale-force winds, strike the Amundsen-Scott Station. During the summer the station population is typically over 200. Most personnel leave by the middle of February, leaving a few dozen (47 in 2010) “winter-overs”, mostly support staff plus a few scientists, who keep the station functional through the months of Antarctic night. The winter personnel are isolated between mid-February and late October. Wintering-over presents notorious dangers and stresses, as the station population is almost totally isolated. The station is completely self-sufficient during the winter, and powered by three generators running on JP-8 jet fuel. An annual tradition is a double feature viewing of The Thing (a horror film set in Antarctica) and The Shining (a horror film about an isolated winter caretaker) after the last flight has left for the winter.
2. Belgrano II Base
• Latitude: 77°52′S
• Population: 19 (during 2010)
A Sunset in Belgrano 2 Station by Pablo Origlia
Belgrano II is an Argentine research station in Antarctica. In 1955, General Hernan Pujato founded the first Belgrano station, remaining for years as the southernmost base. On February 5, 1979 the Belgrano II was opened as replacement of the previous base. A third base, Belgrano III worked from 1980 to 1984, but the second one is the only one running, and its as of 2010 the southernmost permanent Argentine base on the continent. One of the main features of the base is that as a result of its latitude, both day and night are four months long and the night sky has the usual aurora australis. The temperature is between 5 and 48 C below zero. Although maintained by the Argentine Armed Forces, as all Argentine bases on Antarctica, it is operated by the civilian agency Instituto Antartico Argentino( English: Argentine Antarctic Institute ). As of 2010, the base has a 19 men crew which two are Air Force meteorologists, three are DNA civilian researchers and the rest is Argentine Army personnel in charge of operating the base. Activities:
- Meteorology station.
- Ozone layer studies with high altitude probes and a Brewer spectrophotometer from the World Meteorological Organization operated jointly with Spain
- Southern aurorae studies in cooperation with Italy
- Magnetic field investigations
- Operates the southernmost seismograph over firm rock
- Geodesy (GPS and a Doris beacon)
3. McMurdo Station, Antarctica
• Latitude: 77°51′S
• Population: capable of supporting up to 1,258 residents
McMurdo Station is a U.S. Antarctic research center located on the southern tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand-claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. It is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program, a branch of the National Science Foundation. The station is the largest community in Antarctica, capable of supporting up to 1,258 residents, and serves as the United States Antarctic science facility. All personnel and cargo going to or coming from Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station first passes through McMurdo. For a time, McMurdo had Antarctica’s only television station, AFAN-TV, running vintage programs provided by the military. The station’s equipment was susceptible to “electronic burping” from the diesel generators that provide electricity in the outpost. The station was profiled in a 1974 article in TV Guide magazine. Now, McMurdo receives three channels of the US Military’s American Forces Network, the Australia Network, and New Zealand news broadcasts. McMurdo has a harbour, the world’s most southern. There is a road from McMurdo to the South Pole, the South Pole Traverse.
4. Port Lockroy, Goudier Island, Antarctica
• Latitude: 64°49′S
• Population: open to tourists and visitors during austral summer seasons
Port Lockroy – Antarctica by Robert Moran
Port Lockroy—If there is a human population center along the Antarctic Peninsula, this is it. While there may be hundreds of thousands of penguins, tens of thousands of seals, whales and sea birds that call this remote stretch home, few people do. But at the height of the austral summer season—December through February—more people congregate in the protected harbor here at the former Camp A of the British Antarctic Survey than anywhere else for many thousands of miles, if temporarily. Port Lockroy, discovered in 1904, was named after Edouard Lockroy, a French politician and Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, who assisted Jean-Baptiste Charcot in obtaining government support for hisFrench Antarctic Expedition. It was used for whaling between 1911 and 1931 and British military operations (Operation Tabarin) during World War II and then continued to operate as a British research station until 1962. In 1996 Port Lockroy was renovated and is now a museum and post office operated by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. It is designated asHistoric Site no. 61 under the Antarctic Treaty and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Antarctica. Proceeds from the small souvenir shop fund the upkeep of the site and other historic sites and monuments in Antarctica.
5. Esperanza Base
• Latitude: 63°24′S
• Population: 55 inhabitants in winter, including 10 families and 2 school teachers
Esperanza Base Station
The Argentine Base Esperanza (Spanish “Hope Base”) is located in Hope Bay, Trinity Peninsula, Antarctic Peninsula. Built in 1952, the base houses 55 inhabitants in winter, including 10 families and 2 school teachers. Provincial school #38 “Julio Argentino Roca” was founded in 1978 and acquired independent status in 1997. The LRA 36 Radio Nacional Arcángel San Gabriel radio station started transmitting in 1979. The mean temperatures are −5.5 °C (22.1 °F) and range throughout the year from −10.8 °C (12.6 °F) in winter to 0.2 °C (32.4 °F) in summer. The prescence of one month with a temperature mean just barely above freezing means the climate is classified as an arctic tundra climate in the Köppen system. The 43 buildings of the station have a combined space of 3,744 square metres (40,300 sq ft) covered; 18,000 litres (4,800 US gal) of fuel are used annually by the 4 generators.
6. Jubany Base, Carlini Station
• Latitude: 62°14′S
• Population: average winter population of 20 people
Antarctica Jubany scientific base by Marcelo Mammana
The Carlini Station, formelly known as Jubany Scientific Station, is an Argentine permanent base first established in 1953 on 25 de Mayo Island(English: King George Island), in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. It had been named after Argentine pilot José Isidro Jubany, but was renamed on March 2012 to Carlini after Argentine scientist Alejandro Ricardo Carlini. Located near other bases of Uruguay, Chile, Korea, Russia, China and Poland, and next to a colony of more than 16,000 penguins and 650 sea lions, it has a maximum lodging capacity for 60 people, with an average winter population of 20 people. The station was erected in 1982, and has 15 buildings, two laboratories and a movie theater. In order to reach it, it is necessary to fly from Ushuaia toBase Marambio, and then sail for a few days.
7. Villa Las Estrellas
• Latitude: 62°12′S
• Population: 120 (summer) 80 (winter)
Villa Las Estrellas (Spanish: “Starstown”)
Villa Las Estrellas (Spanish: “Starstown”) is a Chilean town in Antártica Commune, Antártica Province, Magallanes and Antártica Chilena Region. It is located onPresident Eduardo Frei Montalva Base, a military base, on King George Island. It is the biggest and one of only two civilian settlements on Antarctica (the other being Argentina’s Esperanza Base). It has a summer population of 120 and 80 in the winter. The people of Villa Las Estrellas live in a community that offers fourteen 90 m² (970 sq. ft.) homes.
8. Puerto Williams, Chile
• Latitude: 54°56′S
• Population: over 2,000
Puerto Williams (Spanish for “Port Williams”) is a Chilean port, located on Isla Navarino facing the Beagle Channel. It is the capital of the Chilean Antarctic Province, one of four provinces located in the Magellan and Chilean Antartica Region. It has a population of a little over 2,000, including both naval personnel and civilians, and many of the houses in Puerto Williams belong to the Chilean Navy. Puerto Williams is often referred to as the world’s southernmost city which is often disputed by the much larger city of Ushuaia, Argentina, located to the northwest. The settlement was named after John Williams Wilson who founded Fuerte Bulnes the first Chilean settlement in the Strait of Magellan. Puerto Luisa was its original name. Since its foundation in 1953 the settlement has served primarily as a naval base. But recently navy personnel living in Puerto Williams have decreased while civil population has increased. In recent years tourism has contributed to an increase in economic activity at Puerto Williams. Universidad de Magallanes has a university centre in Puerto Williams.
9. Ushuaia, Argentina
• Latitude: 54°48′S
• Population: 58028
Ushuaia is the capital city of Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world (a title long disputed by smaller Puerto Williams). Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range and on the south by the Beagle Channel. The Selk’nam Indians, also called the Ona, first arrived in Tierra del Fuego about 10,000 years ago. The southern group of the Selk’nam, the Yaghan (also known as Yámana), occupied what is now Ushuaia, living in continual conflict with the northern inhabitants of the island. Ushuaia has long been described as the southernmost city in the world. While there are settlements farther south, the only one of any notable size isPuerto Williams, a Chilean settlement of some 2000 residents (mostly families of the nearby military bases). As a center of population, commerce, and culture, and as a town of significant size and importance, Ushuaia however clearly qualifies as a city.
10. Punta Arenas, Chile
• Latitude: 53°10′S
• Population: 120,000 (in 2002)
Punta Arenas Noche by Don Fulano
Punta Arenas (English: “Sandy Point”) is a commune and the capital city of Chile’s southernmost region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena. The city was officially renamed Magallanes in 1927, but in 1938 it was changed back to Punta Arenas. It is the largest city south of the 46th parallel south. Sitting by the Strait of Magellan Punta Arenas was established originally as a tiny penal colony in 1848. Located on the Brunswick Peninsula. Punta Arenas is among the largest cities in the entire Patagonian Region. In 2002, it had a population of 120,000. It is roughly 1418.4 km from the coast of Antarctica. The Magallanes region is considered part of Chilean Patagonia. Magallanes is Spanish for Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who, while circumnavigating the earth for Spain, passed close to the present site of Punta Arenas in 1520. Early English navigational documents referred to its location as “Sandy Point”. The city proper is located on the northeastern shore of Brunswick Peninsula. Besides the eastern shore, with the settlements of Guairabo, Rio Amarillo and Punta San Juan, the peninsula is largely uninhabited. The municipality (commune) of Punta Arenas includes all of Brunswick Peninsula, as well as all islands west of the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego and north of Cockburn Channel and Magdalena Channel. The largest of those are: Santa Inés Island, Desolación Island, Dawson Island, Aracena Island, Clarence Island, Carlos Island and Wickham Island. Except Dawson Island, with a population of about 301 in 2002, the islands are largely uninhabited. Clarence Island had a population of just five.