Antarctic Expeditions

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Four Indian Scientific expeditions to Antarctica (27 to 30) were successfully undertaken during 2007-11, while the next (31st) expedition is planned to be launched during October–November 2011. In the course-of the winter and summer seasons of 2007-11, scientific data collection pertaining to projects in the disciplines of earth science, glaciology, atmospheric sciences, biology, environmental sciences, engineering and communication, besides the logistic tasks critical to the expeditions were accomplished.

Some of the highlights of the work carried out in Antarctica are as follows:

  • A digital Ionosonde System with two cross Delta antennas were installed at the Maitri station to study short and long-term variation of Ionosphere and magnetospheric-ionospheric coupling between high and low latitudes during space weather events.
  • A magnetic observatory was operated at the Maitri station for monitoring variation in the Earth’s magnetic field. Monitoring the variation in the Earth’s magnetic field was taken up to understand storm–substorm relationship, the global signature in the atmospheric electrical parameters, the decline in total magnetic field ‘F’ observed in the southern hemisphere, especially over Antarctica continent; and the ionospheric TEC, scintillation and tropospheric water vapor content.
  • Geological mapping between 20 to 30 east longitudes in Gjelsvikfjella was carried out utilising the Norwegian station Troll (S. Lat. 720 0’ 7” & E. Long. 20 32’ 2”) as a base. Two maps “Geological map of Orwin Range, cDML, East Antarctica” and “Geomorohological map of Schirmacher Oasis, East Antarctica” were published.
  • Microbiological studies carried out on fresh snow deposits in the coastal Antarctica reveal the crucial role of bacteria in the air-snow biogeochemical cycling in this region. Glaciochemical and microbiological study of snow from the coastal Larsemann Hills, East Antarctica reveal that elevated nutrient concentrations in ice cap snow are responsible for the observed high bromide concentration in snow related to the enhanced growth of microalgae in snow and subsequent production of bromo-carbons. Twelve new species of bacteria were reported from the Polar region during 2008-2011. Two genes namely t-RNA modification GTPase and aspratate aminotransferase were identified as the genes required for survival of bacteria at low temperature. A number of lipases and proteases active at low temperatures and useful for the biotechnology industry were also identified.
  • Delineation of the Land-Ice-Sea (LIS) interface (Hinge-line) around the Schirmacher Oasis, central Dronning Maud Land (cDML) was carried out.
  • A major multidisciplinary study to understand the late Quaternary climatic conditions of the East Antarctica was initiated utilising sedimentological, palynological, and geochemical proxy indicators in the lake sediments of the Schirmacher Oasis. Satellite-based DEM for the Larsemann Hills has been generated for mass balance studies.
Last Updated On 05/14/2014 - 16:38
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