The lost meteorites of Antarctica (The lost meteorites of Antarctica)

We aim to test a piece of custom-made meteorite detection equipment, upon a small section of the Midre Lovenbreen glacier, as part of our project to find a lost layer of meteorites in Antarctica.

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  • field work


  • cryosphere

Project Keywords

  • cryosphere / glaciers/ice sheets / ice sheets

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Antarctica is the most fruitful place on earth for collecting meteorites. However the proportion of iron meteorites collected from the continent is an order of magnitude lower than that collected from the rest of the earth. We have hypothesised that the missing iron meteorites lie buried a few centimetres below the surface of Antarctica's mountainous blue ice zones. Funding from the Leverhulme Trust has now been granted to us to test the hypothesis. In partnership with the British Antarctic Survey, we shall be searching for Antarctica's lost meteorites in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020. Detecting the presence of englacial meteorites clearly requires appropriate sensing equipment; in this case a custom made metal detector that will be attached to the back of a skidoo (or tracked quad bike). To make sure this detection equipment is optimised and robust, thorough testing is required. To help achieve this, we wish to test the operating capability of the equipment during a series of controlled trials on the Midre Lovenbreen glacier, Svalbard. The specific purposes of the testing will be: 1) to test the durability of the sensing equipment, and 2) to determine for what the depths (pre-placed) meteorites can be detected at differing velocities of travel.

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