First science on return trip
The traverse departed Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and commenced its 2300 km return journey back to Troll Station on December 23, 2008. After a week in the field everything is going fine, and the first science stop has now been completed.
Some 300 kilometres out of the South Pole, the traverse stopped for 2 days to collect a total of 55 meters of ice cores, snow samples and other data, and to carry out a test flight with the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The work was completed as planned, and the traverse is now on the move again, towards the next science stop at the southernmost of the newly discovered Recovery Lakes, known as ”Lake D”.
The science stop was the first in a series of 7 planned for the return traverse, some of them lasting up to 8 days. Most of the stops will be concentrated around the Recovery Lakes region, in the upper catchment of the large Recovery ice stream. Throughout the route, the traverse team members will collect a wide range of data on climate history, snow accumulation and glacial dynamics. In the Recovery Lakes region the traverse tem will also collect data on gravity variations and surface movement, hoping to catch a first glimpse of the role this extensive subglacial lake system might play in the dynamics of the East Antarctic ice sheet.
The 12 traverse members are very happy to be off on the trip they have been planning for years, and excited about their opportunity to collect the first ground data from previously unvisited regions.