UK meteorite search in Antarctica 2019/2020 – Lost Meteorites of Antarctica Project

Last update: 10 December 2019

The 2019/20 main field trip of the project Lost Meteorites of Antarctica to recover subsurface iron meteorites on some blue icefields in Antarctica is about to start within the next few days. Four members of the University of Manchester’s UK Polar Meteorite Exploration and Research Team (Geoff Evatt, Wouter Van Verre, Katherine (Katie) Joy und Romain Tartese) reached the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) base Rothera on 27 November and prepared for their six-week field search together with their guides Taff Raymond (and Rob Taylor ?). They want to search and scan 15 to 20 square kilometres with two snowmobile-drawn five panel (2 × 1.1m each) pulse induction metal detector arrays and hope to find four to five subsurface iron meteorites and maybe up to 80 stony specimens on the surface. The team will search the newly named Outer Recovery Ice Field which is about 2000 km away from Rothera Station and was already visited by Katherine Joy and field guide Julie Baum during their reconnaissance mission in January 2019 when they searched several ice fields in the Recovery Glacier region (81°10′S, 28°00′W), on the southern side of the Shackleton Range as well as the northern areas of Argentina Range (82°18’27.2″S, 41°53’30.3″W). The reconnaissance mission resulted in about 36 surface meteorite finds which are currently in classification. The Lost Meteorites of Antarctica Project tries to confirm the theory of a hidden layer of subsurface Antarctic meteorites, published by Evatt et al in February 2016.

On 5 December Geoff Evatt, Romain Tartese and Rob Taylor left Rothera and flew to Outer Recovery Ice Field with an AZ Twin Otter. Wouter Van Verre and Katherine (Katie) Joy followed followed a few days later.

See also UK meteorite search reconnaissance mission in Antarctica 2018/2019 – 36 meteorites found (19 January 2019)

A potential hidden layer of meteorites below the ice surface of Antarctica
G. W. Evatt, M. J. Coughlan, K. H. Joy, A. R. D. Smedley, P. J. Connolly, I. D. Abrahams
Nature Communications 7,
Article number: 10679, published 16 February 2016

The Lost Meteorites of Antarctica Project: A New UK-Led Antarctic Meteorite Recovery Programme

K. H. Joy, G. E. Evatt, A. R. D. Smedley, I. D. Abrahams, A. Peyton, L. A. Marsh, J. Wilson, J. Davidson, W. van Verre, M. Rose, L. Gerrish, T. Harvey

50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (2019), Abstract #1018