Vostok Station (Russian: Станция Восток) is a Russian
(formerly Soviet) research station located near the Southern Pole of
Inaccessibility, at the center of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Vostok
Station is located within the Australian Antarctic Territory (although as a
signatory to the Antarctic Treaty System, Australia does not exercise
sovereignty over the territory). Vostok research station was established on
December 16, 1957 (during the International Geophysical Year) by the 2nd
Soviet Antarctic Expedition and has operated year-round for more than 37
years. The station was temporarily closed in January 1994. This station is
now cooperatively operated by Russian, U.S., and French scientists.
In 2008, Fred Zinkann has produced coin in various
metals on Vostok Antarctica Station with face value of 5 Russian Rubles to
commemorate 50th years of operation 1958 to 2008:
The above coin is in Molybdenum metal. "Among
Cathedrals of ice // on the continent of friends". Weak strike in spots due
to tough metal.
The above coin is in Zirconium metal. "Among
Cathedrals of ice // on the continent of friends".
This panoramic photo of Vostok Station shows the
layout of the camp. The striped building on the left is the power station
while the striped building on the right is where researchers sleep and take
meals. The building in the background with the red and white striped ball
on top is the meteorology building. Caves were dug into the ice sheet for
storage, keeping cores at an ideal -55 degrees Celsius year round.
On July 21, 1983, the lowest temperature ever recorded
on earth was in Vostok with −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F). Though unconfirmed, it has
been reported that Vostok reached the temperature of −91 °C (−132 °F) during
the winter of 1997. In 1996, Russian and British scientists from the station
discovered Lake Vostok, the largest known subglacial lake in the world,
underneath Vostok Station. Lake Vostok lies some 4,000 meters (13,000 ft)
below the surface of the central Antarctic ice sheet and covers an area of
14,000 km² (5,400 sq mi). The station is 3,488 meters (11,444 ft) above sea
level. It is the most isolated of all of the established research stations
on the Antarctic continent, located about 1,300 km from the Geographic South
Pole. Its location near the South Geomagnetic Pole makes it one of the
optimal places to observe changes in the Earth's magnetic sphere. Other
studies include aerometeorology, actinometry, geophysics, medicine,
climatology and others. The station typically contains 25 scientists and
engineers in the summer, their number drops to 13 in winter.
drilling started by the Soviet Union in 1970s. These have been used to study
the oxygen isotope composition of the ice. Although the Vostok core reached
a depth of 3623 m the usable climatic information does not extend down this
far. The very bottom of the core is ice refrozen from the waters of Lake
Vostok and contains no climate information. The usual data sources give
proxy information down to a depth of 3310 m or 414,000 years.