The Thiel Earth Sciences Laboratory Dedication

the Thiel Earth Sciences Laboratory
An undated photo of the Thiel Earth Sciences Laboratory.

The building was originally completed in 1965-66 and designated the Earth Science Laboratory.

On 2 December 1973 the building was dedicated to the memory of geophysicist Dr. Edward C. Thiel, who had been killed in a tragic VX-6 aircraft crash at Wilkes in November 1961.

The dedication was documented in this January-February 1974 Antarctic Journal article:

Earth sciences laboratory named
McMurdo's earth sciences laboratory was dedicated December 2, 1973, to the memory of Dr. Edward C. Thiel. The antarctic center for U.S. programs in geology, geophysics, and glaciology also houses preliminary research facilities of the Dry Valley Drilling Project. Dr. Thiel, a geophysicist, was chief seismologist at Ellsworth Station during 1956-1958. In 1957 he co-led a 2,000-kilometer traverse across previously unexplored portion of the Filchner Ice Shelf. He returned to Antarctica for further research during the austral summers of 1958-1961. Dr. Thiel died in an aircraft accident November 9, 1961, while completing a gravity connection and magnetic traverse between Mirnyy Station and Wilkes Station. At that time he was assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Samuel B. Treves, professor of geology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, gave the address at the dedication of the Edward C. Thiel Earth Sciences Laboratory.

After the dedication, the building was known as the Thiel Earth Sciences Laboratory (TESL), and there was a gravity station behind the building, documented here.

After the Crary Lab was completed, the building was used by the Field Safety Training Program ("F-STOP") until it was demolished in February 2007 to make way for a new MOGAS tank.

More information on the crash that led to Ed Thiel's death: documentation from Billy-Ace Baker on Dave Riley's site, from Darryn Schneider, and from a May 2012 Antarctic Sun article about a plaque erected at the crash site.

The photo at the top of this page is from the Antarctic Photo Library (link to original).