Mawson environment

Aerial photo of Mawson station at end of Horseshoe Harbour
Location of Mawson station within Horseshoe Harbour. (Photo: D. McVeigh)
View from the water with mountains behind MawsonSnow covers up large items stored outside.The night sky over the ANARESAT with a aurora australis lighting up the sky.Seals sunbaking on the ice looking like they are at the beachSunlight makes the rocks glow golden, water lapping and wind turbines behind.

Mawson is situated on an isolated outcrop of rock on the coast in Mac Robertson Land, at the edge of the Antarctic plateau at 67° 36′ 10″ south, 62° 52′ 26″ east. It is Australia’s first continental station and the longest continuously operating station south of the Antarctic Circle.

The station is the most westerly of the three continental stations, lying about 5200km south-west of Perth, Western Australia. It is situated on the south-eastern shore of Horseshoe Harbour, a small ice-free rock outcrop some 900 by 700 metres in size, adjacent to the continental ice cap in Holme Bay, Mac Robertson Land.

At the southern end of the horseshoe, the rock surface rises to the edge of the continental ice sheet, just 400 metres inland. The two sides of Horseshoe Harbour are called West Arm and East Arm.

The plateau surface in the coastal region is mostly blue ice, occasionally covered by light snow in winter and spring.