Mark Eijkelboom, technician at IMAU, has just returned from an expedition to East Antarctica. In the BENEMELT project, researchers Jan Lenaerts (Utrecht University) and Stef Lhermitte (KU Leuven) study the melting of the upper layers of ice shelves. “We were there with a group of eight people: Stef and I from BENEMELT, two researchers from the IceCon project and four guides from the Belgian Army, who provided excellent support.” The researchers hope to gain a better understanding of the stability of the ice shelves on East Antarctica.
How does such an expedition work? Eijkelboom: “We flew to the Belgian Princess Elisabeth Base on Antarctica, where we stayed for a few days to test our equipment and re-pack. Then we travelled 200 kilometres on snowmobiles to our base camp at the King Boudewijn ice shelf, where we stayed for three weeks. The base camp consisted of a container with a small kitchen and a table where we could eat and work, plus a tent for everyone. The food supplies are stored outside, because Antarctica is one big refrigerator.”