BELARE 2004 : Station site chosen

On Monday 29 November 2004, the Belare 2004 team located the optimal site for the new Antarctic summer station in the Sör Røndane Mountains, 200 metres north of the Usteinen Nunatak. The geographical coordinates are: S.71°56'47" and E.23°20'44", altitude: 1368m.

A Belgian and a Japanese flag were placed on the site, along with a "Belare 2004 – IPF" panel. The meteo station has been installed and works perfectly using solar energy.

Gigi Amin and Maaike Vancauwenberg have started the sampling work (rock and ice analysis) while Alain Hubert and Kazuyuki Shiraishi have been checking a "blue ice field" near the base for use as a future station runway.

Since Sunday a 40km/h katabatic wind has been blowing on the site, perpendicular to the station orientation.

The old Japanese "Asuka" base, which was abandoned 5 years ago, has been visited by two Japanese members of the team (Shiga and Kenji who are specialised in mechanics and logistics). The news is good: they managed to start up the heating system and have fixed one bulldozer and the biggest tractor of the station.

Incidentally, Alain Hubert could not miss the opportunity to be the first to reach the top of the Usteinen Nunatak (1611m) – the highest summit in the immediate vicinity.

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