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Old 'Stationhaus' from German Antarctic Expedition 1911-1912 Found?

During their Antarctic Expedition 1911-1912 the Germans built a 'Stationhaus' and two depots of stores on a section of the Antarctic coast of what is now the Filchner Ice Shelf. Now, after more than 100 years, satellite images show the possible remains of either the 'Stationhaus' or one of the depots of stores.

Luitpold Coast (German: Prinzregent-Luitpold-Land) is that portion of the coast of Coats Land extending from the vicinity of Hayes Glacier, which is regarded as the eastern limit of the Filchner Ice Shelf. It was discovered by Wilhelm Filchner, leader of the Second German Antarctic Expedition, 1911–12, and named for Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria.

This section of the Antarctic coast, never seen by earlier expeditions, was named Prince Regent Luitpold Land (now the Luitpold Coast). A suitable anchorage was found at Vahsel Bay at the eastern extreme of what is now the Filchner Ice Shelf.

According to, materials, dogs and ponies were unloaded and work started on a winter quarters (or stationhaus). A building measuring 17 by 9 metres was erected on the ice shelf but the following day disaster struck when the ice supporting the building began to break away from the shelf.

As their headquarters floated off to the north, Filchner and his team worked feverishly to dismantle everything and return it to the Deutschland. 

What the party had witnessed was a massive spring tide, three metres high, accompanied by a sudden drop in atmospheric pressure, affecting an area of nearly 600 square kilometres. Fortunately, by the time the camp had drifted out to sea everything had been removed except for a small part of the building. 

A landing on continental ice was eventually achieved, and at a height of about a hundred metres two large depots of stores were established on the coast, then covered with ice and marked with black flags and poles. 

Filchner’s intention was then to return to South Georgia, spend the winter there and return the following summer to complete the mission. However, on the sea froze over at a remarkable speed, trapping the Deutschland in the ice. 

The old building can be found at the following coordinates: 77°51'25.66"S 34° 0'2.43"W

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