An Argentine army soldier died Tuesday in an explosion at the country's Esperanza station in Antarctica, the Defense Ministry said.

The accident occurred as the remains of inflammable material exploded while it residues were being removed from the base, the ministry said in a communique.

Founded in 1952, the Esperanza base is one of six Argentine facilities in the Antarctic that are permanently active and the only one with civilian personnel.

It occupies 43 buildings and during the winter houses a staff of 80 who carry out tasks of reconnaissance and exploration, plus scientific projects related to glaciology, seismology, oceanography, biology, geology and limnology.

Defense Minister Agustin Rossi launched Argentina's 2014 Antarctic Summer Campaign last Thursday by ordering a fuel-supply operation for the ships that will sustain the scientific activities to be carried out on the white continent.

A day later the Russian polar vessel Vasily Golovnin arrived at the port of Buenos Aires on its way to provide supplies for the Argentine bases. EFE