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Monday, 20 October 2008 22:14
ANDRILL photo exhibition opens in ParisWritten by Lucia Simion
My name is Lucia Simion, I am a science writer and a photographer, specialized in the Antarctic. I love that continent because I always liked snow, it’s a magic element of nature, like wind, fire and ice. All these elements are to be found in Antarctica. But there is another reason too: As a child I used to live close by the home of Commander Jean-Baptiste Charcot, explorer of the Antarctic as well as the Arctic.
One year ago, in November 2007, I was deployed to the Ice to cover the ANDRILL SMS international project. ANDRILL stands for Antarctic Geological Drilling and SMS for Southern McMurdo Sound; the project has drilled 1,138 m of sediment cores from the bottom of the sea in an area located between the south-eastern shores of Ross Island and the Trans-Antarctic Mountains.
ANDRILL is an international project involving 200 people from four different nations: the United States, New Zealand, Germany and Italy. I am Italian, that’s why I had the chance to be there. The chief objective of ANDRILL (one of the most important projects in the 2007-2009 IPY) is to drill back in time to recover a history of paleo-environmental changes that will guide our understanding of how fast, how large, and how frequent were glacial and interglacial changes in the Antarctic region. Future scenarios of global warming require data from past history that will reveal potential timing frequency and site of future changes.
In November 2007 I was based at Scott Base (founded 50 years ago by Sir Ed Hillary). Every morning I went “uphill”, I mean on the other side of Observation Hill, to McMurdo station, and to the Crary Lab, where the ANDRILL Headquarters were located. The Crary Lab is operated by the US National Science Foundation. Every evening I went “back home” to Scott Base, overlooking the vast expanse of the Ross Ice Shelf, with White Island and Black Island. And Mt. Erebus to the North.
I spent two weeks with the ANDRILL SMS team, and I have been three times to the drill site, where the huge drill rig—weighing some 60 tons—was sitting on the McMurdo Sound sea-ice (8.5 meters thick). My chief objective during my deployment was to make a photographic reportage on ANDRILL and interview the team, with the goal to publish articles in the press, organize photographic exhibitions, publishing photos in my future books and talk about ANDRILL in my presentations. The overall main goal is to raise awareness about Antarctica, antarctic sciences and antarctic drilling among a wide audience in France, in Italy and elsewhere.
These objectives have been thoroughly achieved. The ANDRILL SMS project is now on show as an educational exhibition held in Paris, France, at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, from October 2008 until January 2009. On exhibit there are large-scale photographs (120 x 80 cm) and the 5 Flexhibit banners produced for the Engaging Antarctica Project funded for the IPY by the US National Science Foundation (Judy Diamond, Mike Farrell, LuAnn Dahlman, banners designed by Angie Fox, Nebraska State Museum). I translated the banners from English into French and in Italian.
Operations and logistics for ANDRILL are managed by Antarctica New Zealand. The scientific research is administered and coordinated through the ANDRILL Science Management Office, located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The ANDRILL SMS core, drilled between October and December 2007 (1,138 meters, with a recovery success of 98%) covered the palaeo-climatic history of the region of the past 17 million years. Fossils and microfossils preserved in the strada (such as diatoms and spores) suggest that 16 millions years ago the Western Ross Sea had a climate similar to that found today in southern Patagonia, in southwestern New Zealand and southern Alaska. The coastal marine environment was characterized by river estuaries overshadowed by many trees.
ANDRILL PHOTO EXHIBIT:
Bibliothèque de la Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie,
30, Avenue Corentin Cariou – 75019 PARIS
Opening hours : Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 6 pm
Sundays : 10 am to 7 pm – closed on Mondays.
Check out the ANDRILL Exhibit website.
Lucia Simion is author of the book Antarctica, White Heart of Our Planet, in the IPY Polar Books collection. The book has been awarded by the Académie de Marine in Paris, October 15th, as the best coffee table book in 2008. The Académie de Marine is a department of the French Ministry of Defence.
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