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Antarctic research scientists meet at IUPUI to map their next move into remote region


June 25, 2012

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About 60 American and New Zealand scientists are meeting at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to select a new field camp deep in the Transantarctic Mountains that will aid research into ice movement, climate change, dinosaur and other fossils, and microbes that exist amidst the ice and snow.

The scientists are attending a workshop that brings together a multi-disciplinary group of scientists representing the bio-, cryo-, geo- and atmospheric sciences to investigate the issues that can be addressed by remote field programs in one of the longest mountain chains in the world, said Kathy Licht, an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI who has led research expeditions to Antarctica.

The aim is to exchange ideas about scientific priorities that could best be explored from among four deep field camp sites that were previously identified as having the potential to address the most pressing and diverse scientific questions, she said.

The group will then select a single site, Licht said. The new deep camp will serve as a common logistics hub, advancing various research projects that are identified as priorities. It is anticipated that the camp will be active during the 2014-15 austral summer.

Currently, the four proposed sites for the next Transantarctic Mountains camp are Darwin Glacier, Nimrod Glacier, Scott Glacier and Shackleton Glacier.

The workshop is hosted by the Department of Earth Sciences. It was funded by the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs. It is open to all experienced and new investigators who are interested in research questions that require collection of field data in the Transantarctic Mountains.

The proposed deep field camp will be part of the activities of the U.S. Antarctic Program.