Frozen, Freezin’ and Landing on The Ice: Project ICE SKATE!

Posted by on June 15, 2008

1957 started off a busy year! The Cat In The Hat was published, Jimmy Hoffa had been arrested by the FBI, and Allen Ginsberg’s poetry “obscenely” became newsworthy. (Wikipedia: 1957)

However, beyond the culture changes and the labor bosses, explosions in popular science and research were becoming the “norm” rather than the exception. Maybe it was the race with the Soviets or maybe just the rapid pace of change in American society after World War II.

This popular research also extended to the “last frontiers” of the Arctic and Antarctic.

Associated with the International Geophysical Year: 1957, the United States both via civilian and military means, established projects on two drifting “ice-islands” in the Arctic. Labeled “PROJECT ICE SKATE,” teams of equipment and personnel streamed in to these moving islands, sheared from their surroundings.


Says the Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project:

“…By the end of May, a 1500 m long runway and most of the camp’s 26 Jamesway huts had been completed, and scientific operations commenced. Typically between 25 and 30 military and scientists manned the camp at any timeā€¦”.

Led by Col. Fletcher, an Air Force veteran of World War II and postwar work in the region, many advances both in atmosphere research (ionosphere) and ocean research was made during this time as well as setting the stage for more research in the 1960’s.


I’ve assembled some great links below that talk about this project as well as give some backstory about other similar projects. Take a look and see what you can find!

Have a great day!


Wikipedia: 1957

Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project

International Geophysical Year: 1957

Project IceSkate background (more details)

Bio and background on Col. Fletcher

Col. Fletcher (Oral History Interview, PDF file)

American Polar Society

Geophysical Institute (Alaska)


(1-2) Geophysical Institute (Alaska) (used with permission)


Comments are closed.