Prof. Frank Pattyn Drilling in Antarctica - © International Polar Foundation

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Preparations for the station’s first scientific expeditions

Summertime is not a vacation either for the station's first scientific expeditions, due to reach Princess Elisabeth this coming austral season 2008-09. Prof. Frank Pattyn, from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and an international team of glaciologists, will be studying grounding lines (junction between the grounded ice sheet and the floating ice shelf) nearby the station this coming November. After a planning meeting with the IPF members, the schedule has now been laid out.

Departure from Cape Town to Princess Elisabeth station is planned on November 20, via the Russian station Novolazarevskaya. From Utsteinen, the scientists will then begin the overland traverse to their research site, located at the grounding line, and will be probably guided by Alain Hubert. It is situated about 180 km north to the Princess Elisabeth station.

As far as expedition preparations go, the equipment will be checked soon. The drilling team will go out to Tsanfleuron glacier, in Switzerland, to test the tools in September. The radar team will test their apparatus in Brussels, making sure they can mount the radars onto the different sleds. The Differential Global Positioning Systems (a DGPS uses a network of fixed reference stations to broadcast the difference between the positions indicated by the satellite systems and the known fixed positions) also need to be tested before leaving, whereas supplies (freezers, batteries, etc.) will be bought in Cape Town before leaving. By the end of September everything should be in place for shipment to Cape Town.

Author: IPF

Picture: Prof. Frank Pattyn Drilling in Antarctica - © International Polar Foundation

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