Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation  
The Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency  
«Rusgeology» JSC

Completion of continental field work in Antarctica as part of the 63 RAE

Geological and geophysical work carried out by JSC PMGE in eastern Antarctica as part of 63 Russian Antarctic Expedition (RAE) was successfully completed.

The work was carried out in two directions: airborne geophysical research and geological research. These works are a continuation of the research begun in the 62nd RAE in the region, covering the territory from 88 º Eastern Longitude up to 101º Eastern Longitude . Transportation of participants of the Expedition to the place of work and back was carried out by the scientific research vessel «Akademik Fedorov» belonging to the AARI FSBI. The Expedition left the port of St. Petersburg on October 26, 2017. Sixteen employees of JSC PMGE took part in the work. Upon completion of the work, on March 14, 2018, employees of the JSC PMGE arrived in St. Petersburg by plane from Cape Town.

Since Antarctica is a continent, 98% covered with ice, the remote research methods are the only way to obtain information about the geological structure of most of its territory. Airborne geophysical studies included airborne magnetic survey and ice radar profiling on an area of 17,500 km2.

Work area overview map

Airborne geophysical studies were conducted between January 5 and February 11, 2018. The site was located 200 km south-west of the Russian Mirny Observatory. The plane An-2 was used as the equipment carrier, based on the landing runway of Mirny Observatory.

Аn-2 on the runway

As a result of the work, a set of maps of an anomalous magnetic field in graphs and isolines, isohypses of the subglacial relief, isolines of the ice cover thickness at a scale of 1: 500,000 was compiled. As a result of subsequent desk processing, information will be obtained on the geological structure and the relief of the territory at present closed by the glacier.

Antarctic landscape from the An-2

Geological studies were conducted in the Bunger Oasis, located 350 km east of the Mirny Observatory. The Bunger Oasis is a large outlet of bedrock with an area of about 300 km2. JSC PMGE performs a consistent study of the territory of the oasis. In the season of the 62nd RAE (2017), geological work was concentrated in the central part of the Bunger Oasis, during the 63rd RAE, its northwestern part was explored. The works were carried out during the period from January 9 to February 15, 2018.

In the geological route

The objects of research were both Precambrian crystalline rocks and loose deposits of the Cenozoic age. As a result of the work, field maps were compiled: a schematic geological map at a scale of 1:50 000 with points of manifestation of minerals and a schematic map of the Cenozoic formations at a scale of 1:50 000 with elements of geomorphology.

A material has been obtained that will allow us to characterize the material composition and age of the rocks composing the territory of the Bunger Oasis, to specify the conditions for their occurrence and relationships, and to establish a sequence of tectonic metamorphic events manifested in the studied territory. Also, a material is collected that allows characterizing the regularities of manifestations of minerals in a given territory. The material composition and spatial arrangement of loose Cenozoic deposits were studied, in which 13 real genetic types were identified.

Vorobiev D.M.

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