Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Challenge to discover Antarctica’s hidden world

15.10.2008
Later this month teams of scientists, engineers, pilots and support staff from British Antarctic Survey (BAS), USA, Germany, Australia, China and Japan will join forces for one of the most scientifically, technically ambitious and physically demanding Antarctic projects yet to be undertaken.

The mission of this International Polar Year (IPY) project is to uncover secrets of the enigmatic Gamburtsev subglacial mountains that are buried by up to 4 km of ice; to hunt for the oldest ice on our planet; to study subglacial lakes and to discover new clues of past, present and future climate change.

The Gamburtsev subglacial mountains are thought to be the birthplace of the vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet. This project will reveal clues to how the mountains were formed and provide scientists with the best location for future ice core drilling campaigns.

Geophysicist Dr Fausto Ferraccioli of BAS is leading the UK science effort. He says,

“This is both an exciting and challenging project. It is a bit like preparing to go to Mars. Because of IPY, scientists from six countries are working together to do the unthinkable, to explore the deep interior of East Antarctica – one of the last frontier regions of our planet. For two and a half months our international teams will pool their resources and expertise to survey mountains the size of the Alps buried under the ice sheet that currently defy any reasonable geological explanation. At the same time, we will hunt for ice that is more than 1.2 million years old. Locked in this ancient ice is a detailed record of past climate change that will assist in making better predictions for our future.”

Working at high altitude in temperatures of minus 40ºC, science teams will operate from two remote field camps to complete the first major geophysical survey to ‘map’ the mysterious landscape that lies beneath the vast ice sheet.

The science teams will use a range of state-of-the-art technologies to build an unprecedented 3-dimensional view of this secret world. BAS and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) will work together with the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) to deploy two survey aircraft, equipped with ice-penetrating radar, gravimeters and magnetic sensors. US, Chinese and Japanese teams will study the deeper structure under the Gamburtsev subglacial mountains using seismology.

Mounting this scientific expedition is an enormous and challenging international effort involving six countries, nine aircraft and two deep-field science camps. All this is supported from US Amundsen-Scott Station at South Pole, McMurdo Research Station, from the Australian Davis Station and the BAS Rothera Research Station. Science and support teams on the Chinese tractor-train from South Pole to Zhongshan Station will sample ice cores and decommission the UK-Australian Camp.

Professor Nicholas Owens, Director of British Antarctic Survey says,

“There’s an amazing history of our planet locked in Antarctica’s ice and rocks. It’s only now that we have the technology to start uncovering the secrets from this unique natural laboratory. This is really big science and it can be done only by working with partners from other national Antarctic programmes. It’s exciting, very demanding in terms of physical hardship and logistics coordination, but this joint effort will yield the kind of information that scientists need to understand our past, present and future climate. In a changing world, with so much uncertainty about our future it is absolutely crucial for society that we find answers to fundamental questions about our Earth.”

Athena Dinar | alfa
Further information:
http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press/featured/AGAP/hidden_world.php

Further reports about: Antarctic Antarctic projects Antarctica BAS ice sheet seismology

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA examines Peru's deadly rainfall
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Steep rise of the Bernese Alps
24.03.2017 | Universität Bern

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>