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Our Blog: Scientific Work

Illustration of rays and quartz.

Let’s Talk Science: But What About Beryllium and Aluminum?

Last week, we shared with you how we use carbon to help us date the rocks.

Let’s Talk Science: C-14 Dating

Last week, we mentioned how isotopes are created in quartz. One of these isotopes is carbon-14.

Quartz sample from the field.

Let’s Talk Science: Why Quartz?

So, last week on Let’s Talk Science we talked about cleaning up our rock samples to so that they become pure quartz. But why quartz?

Quartz sample while in the field.

Let’s Talk Science: The Quartz Car Wash

Welcome to our blog series, “Let’s Talk Science,” where we break down the science behind our team’s work.

The location of SANAE IV.

Let’s Talk Science: Mapping

We use remote sensing images to see the ice from a bird’s eye view.

The ice stream between the two ridges.

Let’s Talk Science: Ice Streams

Last week, we talked about nunataks (rock that is exposed when the ice moves). This week, we’re sharing one way the ice moves and allows those nunataks to become exposed.

Remote mapping illustration.

Let’s Talk Science: Mapping and Verification

In our last article, we began explaining how remote sensing helps us with our mapping, the first “M” of our acronym.

An ice stream is a “river” of much faster flowing ice that drains ice from this part of the ice sheet.

Straumsnutane January 10th – 12th

With a few days of good weather, the team had a very productive time at one of our most northerly field sites, Straumsnutane.

Sarah and Robin.

SANAE on January 3rd

We had our best day yet collecting samples and seeing evidence of past, higher levels of the east Antarctic Ice Sheet.

View of SANAE.

SANAE on January 2nd

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were productive fieldwork days for the MAGIC-DML field team.

Light comes from the sun, bounces off the land, and is collected by our satellite.

Let’s Talk Science: What is “remote sensing”?

Remote sensing uses satellites to help us see a big chunk of land from a bird’s-eye-view.

Nunataks and sun illustration.

Let’s Talk Science: Nunataks

Last week, we talked about how we look for certain things in the ice to improve our mapping and eventually begin measuring how the ice has changed. But how do we find those clues?

What happened to the rock samples?

Remember those rock samples the team took from nunataks and erratic boulders in Antarctica? They have all arrived in Scotland.

The 4x4 plus trailer loaded up for the expedition.

Sampling at the edge of the Antarctic Plateau

Learning from our success using both the trucks and snowmobiles to access sites during the fieldwork in Tottanfjella, it was decided to make a speedy return journey to Milorgfjella with the snowmobiles.

Truck tracks on the snow.

To Tottanfjella and back – our second major field excursion

In our first major expedition from Wasa, we visited Milorgfjella, the northeasternmost nunatak in the Heimefrontfjella (pronounced ‘Hime-a-front-fyella’) range.

Hiking on the Månesigden Ridge.

What is it like to do fieldwork in Antarctica?

When we are out in the field, we are a team of eight people based in a field camp.

Coffee break on our way to Milorgfjella.

Mapping and Sampling in Milorgfjella's Rugged Beauty

On January 21st we headed out for our first major fieldwork in Milorgfjella (pronounced "Mee-lorg-feeyella") about 240 km SSE of the research station Wasa.

Closeup of a quartzite boulder.

We have the first rock samples in the bag!

The MAGIC-DML team has been out on their first major trip from Wasa.

Antarctica is covered by a vast ice sheet.

Nunataks as dipsticks

Antarctica is covered by a vast ice sheet (Picture 1). The colors of the ice sheet indicate thickness, with blues showing thinner ice and reds, thicker ice.