Zucchelli Station

Zucchelli Station is an Italian seasonal research station, located at Terra Nova Bay in Antarctica on a granitic headland along the coast of the Northern Foothills to north-east of Gerlache Inlet. It has been named after Mario Zucchelli, director of the activities, which conducted for sixteen years, for the ENEA-Unità Tecnica Antartide as part of the National Antarctic Research Program (PNRA).[1]

Zucchelli Station
Mario Zucchelli Station
Zucchelli Station at Terra Nova Bay
Zucchelli Station
Location of Zucchelli Station in Antarctica
Coordinates: 74°41′39″S 164°06′50″E
Country Italy
Location in AntarcticaTerra Nova Bay
Ross Sea
Administered byNational Antarctic Research Program
Established1985 (1985)
Named forMario Zucchelli
15 m (49 ft)
  • Up to 90

The main functions carried out by the Station are:

  • logistic support to scientific personnel operating in remote fields
  • logistical and operational support to the oceanographic ship
  • support to research activities with laboratories and instrumentation
  • support to personnel and material in transit for Concordia Station
  • support to air operations


The Zucchelli Station is a seasonal (from mid-October until mid-March)[2] research Antarctic Station on the Terra Nova Bay located at an altitude of 15 metres (49 ft) and covers an area of approximately 7,500 square meters. In 2010, the Station was enlarged and in the austral summer the traverse leave for Concordia Station operated jointly with France.[3]

Main building

The main building was built in 1985, in the first seasonal expedition, on a steel structure 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) from the ground and consist of 82 containers, 42 of which used for the personnel accommodation and services while the remaining 40 to the support activities as:

  • operations room situated on the top of the building, like a control tower, looking over the base
  • communications room, adjacent to the operation room to facilitate the HF radio and the satellite radio transmissions
  • calculation room which give informatics support and data transmission,
  • offices,
  • laboratories (chemistry, biology, geology, electronics),
  • cafeteria,
  • kitchen,
  • emergency,
  • infirmary,
  • laundry.

Technical plants

  • aquarium
  • boat storage
  • carpentry
  • co-generation system for the exploitation of the thermal energy produced by the power plant
  • deposit for vehicles
  • desalination plant
  • diving chamber
  • electrical and mechanical workshop
  • fuel storage
  • helipads
  • incinerator plant
  • materials warehouse
  • nitrogen and helium liquefiers
  • power and thermal energy plant (four diesel generators)
  • shredder and compactor plant
  • wastewater treatment plant

Research activity

  • cosmic ray observations
  • geodesy
  • geomagnetic observations
  • glaciology
  • ionospheric/auroral observations
  • meteorological observations
  • oceanography
  • offshore marine biology
  • onshore geology
  • seismology and environmental monitoring
  • terrestrial biology

Icaro Camp

Icaro Camp (74°42′43″S 164°07′00″E) is a facility, fitted as a meteorological station, located 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) south of the Zucchelli Station. The camp consists of two blue containers, held by guy-wires, meteorological equipment, solar panels and a wind generator. Although the structures are not suited to accommodate people, they could shelter a dozen in case of emergency.[4]


Safair L100-30 leased by PNRA at Christchurch Airport in-between missions to Zucchelli Station
Boulder Clay Runway
(Under construction)
Airport typePrivate
LocationZucchelli Station
Terra Nova Bay
Elevation AMSL672 ft / 205 m
Coordinates74°37′21″S 163°54′58″E
Direction Length Surface
ft m
02/20 7,218 2,200 Gravel
Enigma Lake Skiway
Airport typePrivate
LocationZucchelli Station
Terra Nova Bay
Elevation AMSL443 ft / 135 m
Coordinates74°43′08″S 164°01′46″E
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18/36 2,376 724 Ice
Zucchelli Ice Runway
Airport typePrivate
LocationGerlache Inlet
Terra Nova Bay
Coordinates74°41′39″S 164°06′50″E
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03/21 10,137 3,090 Ice
06/24 5,385 1,641 Ice

Boulder Clay Runway

Boulder Clay Runway (74°37′21″S 163°54′58″E) is located about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) south of Zucchelli Station on the Northern Foothills; the construction started in the 2016-17 season and will be completed in the 2021-22. The Italian team usually use an Ice Runway in the Gerlache Inlet to start the summer campaign but in recent years the ice runway was closed earlier then ever because of the climate change and the melting of the ice. The airstrip is situated on the Boulder Clay Moraine and is built with the less environmental impact as possible. It is a gravel runway 2,200 metres (7,200 ft) long and 60 metres (200 ft) wide in order to be suitable to the Safair or Aeronautica Militare C-130J[8] or other larger types as the C-17 Globemaster, Airbus A319-115LR and Boeing 757. The airfield will be completed with: a taxiway which connect the apron with the runway, an apron for aircraft parking and operational tasks capable the stationing of two C-130 Hercules, fire service as ICAO standards, fuel deposit, terminal and shed for the personnel, operation room and a power unit.[9]

Enigma Lake Skiway

Enigma Lake Skiway is situated at an elevation of 135 metres (443 ft), on the Northern Foothills, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) south of Zucchelli Station on an iced lake. Being 725 metres (2,379 ft) long it is operated by the Twin Otters and Basler BT-67. The skyway is prepared by removing the snow accumulated in the winter by the Station staff; in the same place stands an AWS (Rita) which makes part of the network managed by the Antarctic Meteo-Climatological Weather Observatory. [10]

Zucchelli Ice Runway

Zucchelli Ice Runway is located in the Gerlache Inlet and is prepared, at the beginning of each season, by the station's logistic personnel in mid-October. The sea ice runway is suitable for operating the Aeronautica Militare or Safair wheeled C-130, but in the latest years it was closed earlier than before because the sea ice break up.[11] Two runways are prepared, one is the 03/21 which is 3,090 metres (10,140 ft) long and 76 metres (249 ft) wide used by the C-130, the other is the 06/24 which is shorter measuring 1,640 metres (5,380 ft) in length and 50 metres (160 ft) in wideness utilised by the Twin Otters and the Basler BT-67.[7]


AWS Network

The Antarctic Meteo-Climatological Weather Observatory, established in 1985, attempt to a give a contribution to understand the climate change through the study of the atmospheric dynamics. The programme is defined by two projects supported by the National Antarctic Research Program (PNRA), one regarding the Victoria Land and the other the Concordia Station, carried out by the ENEA personnel. The centre run an Automatic weather station network, distributed through the territory, having the responsibility of the instrumentation assembly, the maintenance and the data collection. The network include 16 AW stations operating all year around:

Climate data for Zucchelli Station
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 1
Average low °C (°F) −2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 42.1
Source: [13]

See also



  1. "Mario Zucchelli". Istituto Scienze Polari. Consiglio Nazionale Ricerche. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  2. "Stazione Mario Zucchelli". Italiantartide. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  3. "Stazione Mario Zucchelli". ItaliaAntartide. Programma Nazionale di Ricerche in Antartide (PNRA). Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  4. "Base Giacomo Bove". giacomobovestation.blogspot.com. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  5. "Proposed construction and operation of a gravel runway in the area of Zucchelli Station" (PDF). ATCM XXXVIII. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  6. "Enigma Lake Skiway". Airport Nav Finder. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  7. "Mario Zucchelli Station". Airport Nav Finder. Retrieved 6 September 2020.
  8. "Missione Antartide". Ministero della Difesa. Aeronautica Militare. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  9. "Proposed construction and operation of a gravel runway in the area of Mario Zucchelli Station" (PDF). Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  10. "AWS Rita". ClimAntartide. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  11. "XXXV Spedizione". ItaliAntartide. UTA PNRA. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  12. "Antarctic Meteo Climatological Observatory". ClimAntartide. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  13. "Climate & Weather Averages in Mario Zucchelli Station, Antarctica". timeanddate.com. Time and Date. Retrieved 27 August 2020.