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The geological exploration of the Amery pack ice at the Bharati station and the reconnaissance studies and preparatory work for drilling 500 meters of ice core near Maitri would be the two main programs of the 41st Indian expedition to Antarctica.

The first group of 23 scientists and support personnel who are part of the 41st Antarctic Science Expedition reached India’s Southern White Continent Maitri Antarctic Station last week, a statement from the Department of Earth Sciences said on Monday.

Four other batches will land in Antarctica by air using the DROMLAN facility and the ice-class charter vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin by mid-January 2022, he said.

The first program includes the geological exploration of the Amery pack ice at the Bharati station. This will help to explore the connection between India and Antarctica in the past. The second program includes reconnaissance surveys and preparatory work for drilling 500 meters of ice core near Maitri. It will help improve understanding of the Antarctic climate, westerly winds, sea ice and greenhouse gases from a single climate archive from the past 10,000 years.

The ice core drilling will be carried out in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey and the Norwegian Polar Institute. In addition to carrying out scientific programs, it will replenish the annual supplies of food, fuel, provisions and spare parts for operations and maintenance of life support systems in Maitri and Bharati, ”the statement said.

The Indian Antarctic Program, which began in 1981, has completed 40 scientific expeditions and built three permanent research base stations in Antarctica: Dakshin Gangotri (1983), Maitri (1988) and Bharati (2012).

To date, Maitri and Bharati are fully operational. The National Center for Polar and Oceanic Research (NCPOR) in Goa is an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences and manages the entire Indian Antarctic program.

The Indian contingent reached Antarctica after training for acclimatization and survival in snow and ice at the Mountaineering and Ski Institute, ITBP Auli, Uttarakhand; and a strict health protocol including a 14-day quarantine in Cape Town, South Africa.

The crew is expected to return to Cape Town in late March or early April 2022, leaving a 48-member crew over the winter. He will also bring back the winter team from the previous 40th expedition. The 41st expedition is led by scientist from the National Center for Polar and Oceanic Research (trip leader), Dr Shailendra Saini; Metrologist, Indian Department of Metrology (head, Maitri station), Huidrom Nageshwar Singh and Indian Institute of Geomagnetism scientist (head, Bharati station), Anoop Kalayil Soman, according to the statement. (IANS / JB)

Keywords: India, Geology, Antarctica, Science, World


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