Lighthouses of Antarctica
The continent of Antarctica has no permanent population,
but it has nearly 70 scientific stations, many of them staffed year round.
A few of these stations are visited fairly regularly by adventure cruise
ships. The more accessible stations are all located in the region south
of Cape Horn, where the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland
Islands extend well
to the north into waters that can be navigated safely during the summer. This
region is claimed by Argentina, Chile, and the United Kingdom. Under
the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, all these claims are suspended indefinitely,
and all lands south of latitude 60°S are set aside as a scientific
and wildlife reserve.
In the Lighthouse Directory, navigational beacons are
considered to be lighthouses if they have a height of at least 4 meters
and a footprint of at least 4 square meters. By this standard, Antarctica
has no lighthouses. However, this page lists a number of taller beacons
that approach lighthouse status. Several of these lights have been described
as "the world's southernmost lighthouse." For the record, the
southernmost navigational light listed by NGA is a small beacon at the
Argentine station of San Martín, near the base of the Antarctic
Peninsula at 68°11.8'S.
This is considerably farther south than the lights listed here.
There may well be other lights in the Antarctic that should be listed
here; photos would be welcome.
Lights in the Antarctic probably operate only when ships are expected.
ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS
World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume
G of the
Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers
are from Publication 111.
- General Sources
- Online List of Lights - Band G
- Photos posted by Alexander Trabas; includes pages for the South
Shetland Islands and for Antarctica.
- Lighthouses in Antarctica
- Photos available from Wikimedia.
Jubany (Potter's Bay) Light, February 2005
anonymous Creative Commons photo
- King George Island Lighthouses
- Note: King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands, lying about 120 km (75 mi) north of the Antarctic Peninsula. The island is 95 km (59 mi) long and 25 km (16 mi) wide. Wikipedia has a map showing the location of 9 scientific stations, established by 8 different countries; all are on the more-protected southwestern side of the island.
- Martel Inlet (Comandante Ferraz) (2)
- 2007 (station established 1984). Active; focal
plane about 20 m (66 ft); red light, 1 s on, 1 s off. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted red. A view of the station shows the light in the left distance, and the light is in the far left in another view. Located at Brazil's Comandante Ferraz Station, at the north end of Admiralty Bay,
a large embayment on the south side of King George Island, the largest
of the South Shetland Islands. The station is staffed year round. Site manager: PROANTAR. Admiralty G1387.5; NGA 2729.
(King George Island, Point Thomas)
- Date unknown (scientific station established 1977). Active; focal
plane 18 m (59 ft); white light, 3 s on, 6 s off. 11 m (36 ft) round
cylindrical tower with a small lantern and gallery. The upper half of the light is painted white and the lower half red (the color pattern of the Polish flag). Brian Sullivan's 2010 photo is at right. The lighthouse
was originally painted with red and white horizontal bands, as seen
in Trabas's photo,
but it appeared all white in Ted Smith's 2007 photos.
A 2008 photo is available, and Wikimedia has several photos. This lighthouse guides vessels to Poland's Henryk
Arctowski station, located on the west side of Admiralty Bay. The station is staffed year round.
This is one of the stations most frequently visited by Antarctic adventure
cruises. Site and tower closed. Site manager: Polish Academy of Sciences.
Admiralty G1387.4; NGA 2728.
- Jubany (Potter's Bay)
- Date unknown (scientific station established 1982). Active; focal
plane 11 m (36 ft); white flash every 10 s. 9 m (30 ft) round hourglass-shaped
tower, painted with red and yellow horizontal bands. A photo appears
above; Google's satellite view shows the station but is too dark to show the light. Jubany Base is
an Argentine station located on Isla 25 de Mayo, an island off the
entrance to Potter's Bay on the southwestern coast of King George Island.
(The station buildings appear in the right background of the photo.)
The station is staffed year round. Site status unknown. Site manager:
Argentine Navy. Admiralty G1387.7; NGA 2725.
- Jasper Point (Suffield Point, Base Artigas)
- Date unknown (scientific station established 1984). Active; focal plane 52 m (171 ft); white flash every 5 s. 5 m (17 ft) round aluminum tower, painted with red and white horizontal bands. The light is visible in the upper left corner of a view of the base, and Google has a satellite view. The light guides vessels arriving at Uruguay's Base Artigas, near the southwestern tip of King Goerge Island. Located on a promontory about 800 m (1/2 mi) south of the base. Site status unknown. Site manager: Instituto Antárctico Uruguayo. Admiralty G1387.8; NGA 2722.
- [Ardley Cove]
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 5 m (17 ft); white flash every 5 s. 3 m (10 ft) post light with side panels, painted white with a red horizontal band. A photo is available, Alistair Knock has a view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. This small beacon is on the shoreline at the Chilean Eduardo Frei Montalva Station, a short distance south of Uruguay's Base Artigas. Admiralty G1387.9; NGA 2721.
- Ardley Island
- Date unknown. Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); white flash every 10 s. 6 m (20 ft) round tower on a conical base, painted with orange and white horizontal bands. The light appears at the top left of a photo of penguins on the beach, and Google has a satellite view. Ardley Island, known for its large penguin rookery, is about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) long and lies perpendicular to the southwestern peninsula of King George Island. Located at the eastern end of the island. Site status unknown. Site manager: unknown; this light is probably maintained by Chile. Admiralty G1388; NGA 2720.
Antarctic Peninsula Lighthouse
(Grunden Rock, Hope Bay)
- Date unknown (scientific station established 1975). Active; focal
plane 26 m (85 ft); white flash every 2 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical
tower, painted with red and black horizontal bands. One of Ted Smith's
photos is at right, and Trabas has a good photo.
The light guides ships arriving at Esperanza
Base, a major Argentina station located at Hope Bay at the tip
of the Antarctic Peninsula. The station is staffed year round and
includes several families. Site and tower closed. Site manager: Argentine
Navy. ARLHS ANC-002; Admiralty G1389; NGA 2756.
Arctowski Light, December 2010
photo copyright Brian Sullivan; used by permission
Esperanza (Grunden Rock) Light, 2007
photo copyright Ted Smith; used by permission
Information available on lost lighthouses:
Notable faux lighthouses:
Adjoining page: North: Southern Chile
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Posted December 14, 2007. Checked and revised September 18, 2012.
Lighthouses: 6. Site copyright 2012 Russ Rowlett and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill.