Orcadas Base is an Argentine base in Antarctica and the first permanent base in the area defined by the Antarctic Treaty System. It is located on Laurie Island, one of the South Orkney Islands (known as the Orcadas Islands to the Argentines), at 4 meters above sea level and 170 meters from the coastline. The nearest port is Ushuaia, which is 1,502 km away. The base has 11 buildings and four main topics of research: continental glaciology, seismology, sea-ice-zone glaciology (since 1985) and meteorological observations (since 1903).
In 1903 Dr William S. Bruce's Scottish National Antarctic Expedition established Osmond House, a meteorological station on Laurie Island. During the expedition, however, the crew became stuck in the ice and, unable to sail off, were trapped in the station for the winter.
Bruce left the station in December of that year for Buenos Aires to fix the ship, leaving a few men to keep continue the observations.
Since February 22, 1904, Argentina has kept a permanently populated base there, one of six Argentine permanent bases in Argentine Antarctica, and the first permanently inhabited base in Antarctica.
Orcadas was the only base on the islands for 40 years until the British established a small summer base. It also had the first radiotelegraph in the continent (in 1927). The 11 buildings of the base house up to 45 people during the summer, and an average of 14 during winter.