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National Science Foundation HomeNational Science Foundation - Directorate for Geological Sciences (GEO)
Polar Programs (PLR)
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Division of Polar Programs

Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics (AIL)
Frequently Asked Question about the U.S. Antarctic Program
U.S. Antarctic Environmental Policy
President's Memordanum Regarding Antarctica (Memorandum 6646, February 1982)
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Polar Programs Organizations
Antarctic Sciences (ANT)
Arctic Sciences (ARC)
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U.S. Antarctic Program sites
USAP.gov — The U.S. Antarctic Program web portal
PolarIce (USAP Science Support Website)
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U.S. Annual Report to the Antarctic Treaty
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United States Military Sealift Tanker

Tanker ship docked at McMurdo Station
The tanker Lawrence H. Gianella docked at the McMurdo Station ice pier. (NSF photo by Robyn Waserman.)

Each year an ice-strengthened tanker delivers approximately 19,000,000 liters (5,000,000 gallons) of fuel to McMurdo Station. It is operated under contract to the Military Sealift Command.

Three types of fuel are used:

  • AN8, a special fuel blend used in the Arctic and Antarctic, has a low flash point which lowers the point at which wax crystals form when exposed to exteme cold.
  • Mogas, an unleaded motor fuel with additives, is used by the military.
  • JP5, another special fuel blend, is used in the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker.


The tanker Maersk Peary (left) approaches the McMurdo Station ice pier, escorted by the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star in January 2014. (NSF photo by Peter Rejcek)
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