As they boarded the research vessel Laurence M. Gould on Oct. 27, Alexander Hare ’14 and Isabelle “Izzy” Weisman ’15 joined a unique group of Hamiltonians, the approximately one hundred students who have traveled to Antarctica on scientific expeditions in the last three decades. Hare and Weisman sailed to Antarctica to continue ongoing research initiated by Eugene Domack, the J.W. Johnson Family Professor of Geosciences and director of Larsen Ice Shelf System – Antarctica (LARISSA), a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded and Hamilton College supported initiative.
Hare and Weismann contributed photos and journal entries daily to a blog www.hamilton.edu/antarctica.
The LARISSA project, part of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Integrated Systems Science (AISS) department, was initiated in 2007 in response to the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf. The collapse prompted scientist to discover as much as possible about the newly exposed area.
Domack’s former student, Amelia Shevenell ’96, is serving as chief scientist on this cruise. She is an assistant professor of geological oceanography at the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida.
The expedition, which will end on Nov. 13, will include five days of taking sediment cores from carefully chosen places within the Boyd Strait and Hugo Island Trough with the hope of reaching the glacial Holocene interface. Achieving this objective is important because it will enable the researchers to determine when overlaying sediment was deposited and when the ice stream retreated from the continental margin during the last glacial maximum.
The Gould left for Antarctica from Punta Arenas, Chile, and made a brief first stop at Livingston Island, known as Cape Sheriff, before arriving at Palmer Station. Following a later stop at King George Island, the ship will return to Palmer Station before heading back to Chile.