Feb. 17 – Almirante Brown Antarctic Base

Almirante Brown Antarctic Base is an Argentine research base. When we visited, there was “nobody home” but I suspect that really isn’t the point of these kinds of stations. On our journey we saw active bases, inactive bases, and rescue huts… all operated by different countries. While a lot of important research happens on the continent, I suspect that many of these facilities are actually there as “sovereignty” place markers… pieces on the territorial claim board should the status of Antarctica change. Currently the Antarctic Treaty System designates Antarctica as “ a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.”  According to the Environmental Protocol in the treaty, “All activities relating to Antarctic mineral resources, except for scientific research, are forbidden.” Essentially, Antarctica is currently a giant park that several countries have land claims upon, but in the interest of peace they’ve all agreed to get along, even where claims overlap. In that context, the stations are there just in case the treaty falls apart.