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WAIS-BELL PS134 expedition

WestERN antarctic peninsula, RV Polarstern

Follow Matthias as he sails through the icy wild waters of the Southern Ocean, all the way south to the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas. Let yourself be carried along through icebergs and roaring winds on board the German research icebreaker, the Polarstern. In light of global warming, the team of scientists on board is looking for geological elements that will help them understand the dynamics of this area in a similarly warm past.

Setting the scene

From December 23rd 2022 until March 6th 2023, PhD Student and APECS-member Matthias Troch from the University of Ghent will join the WAIS-BELL expedition to West Antarctica onboard the German research icebreaker Polarstern. Matthias is a glacial geologist and will be part of the expedition titled West Antarctic Ice Sheet history and Processes in the Bellingshausen Sea sector conducted by the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany.

In the main research area of the Bellingshausen Sea and Eastern Amundsen Sea, the scientific groups of expedition PS134 will collect geophysical, geological and biological data and samples.

A large part of the research activities will be conducted in the area where the Belgica of Adrien de Gerlache and his crew and scientists got stuck in the ice 125 years ago. Unlike de Gerlache's, who departed from Antwerp, the WAIS-BELL expedition began with the transit across the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean all the way from Cape Town, South Africa. On the 6th of January, the expedition reached the German Neumayer Station III in Western Dronning Maud Land for a 2 days long resupply mission. The vessel then transited for 9 days across the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula, before reaching the Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas where it will be surveying and sampling for 42 to 45 days. On March 6th, the Polarstern is expected to return to Punta Arenas, Chile, after a final 5 to 6 days transit.