A Postal History Gallery of Related Events


Arctic Research Laboratory Ice Station



In May 1960, Ice Island T3 went aground near Wainwright, Alaska making study programs ineffective. The island was abandoned again with the station left intact for possible future use. As an alternative, the U.S. Navy established a new drift station designated ARLIS I. The freely floating island was only half the size of T3 and was serviced from Fairbanks and Barrow.


A search for a more permanent drifting ice station, initiated while T3 was grounded, resulted in a new base named ARLIS II. Located in 1961, the base was supplied and manned in fourteen days with the last freight flight on June 14.

ARLIS II showed a drift pattern that would put it out of the pack past Greenland and therefore created new study opportunities. It was abandoned four years later as it passed the west coast of Greenland.

Canadian NWT Barnes Ice Cap Expedition

The 1963 party worked in Baffin Bay and Foxe Basin studying processes associated with a "Cold" Ice Cap, and the history of inland ice type deglaciation. The sponsor of the work was the Geological Branch of the Canadian Department of Mines and Technical Surveys.

The mail was taken from the field station to Frobisher and then by commercial plane to Winnipeg.

Ice Island Arlis II is Replaced

ARLIS II evenutally floated out of the pack and down the Greenland coast where it began to break up in 1965. A full occupation of T3 by the Arctic Research Laboratory at Barrow was initiated on September 22, 1965 and the closeness to Alaska made mail service more frequent. During the ARLIS II studies, the Ice Island T3 served as a fuel depot.

Around the World Over Both Poles

Mail was not authorized on the flight although covers carried as official mail passed through post offices enroute.

The Rockwell-Standard flight carried thirty working passengers to collect high altitude meteorological data.

(Exhibition pieces courtesy of George Hall)