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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Earth Science
22-November-2010 20:12 IST
Maiden Indian Scientific Expedition to the South Pole
Indian Flag Hoisted Today at the South Pole
The maiden Scientific Expedition Team hoisted the Indian Tricolour at the South POLE TODAY. Sharing this news to media here today, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Shri Shailesh Nayak said that the team has traversed 2350 km and on the way they collected data on ice physics, chemistry, geomorphology structure of ice etc. We wanted to expand our activities in Antarctica. 25 scientists winter there for this purpose.” Shri Nayak said with these data we will be able to establish correlation between Indian oceans and its cold and warm areas, which are controlled by Antarctic region. This is important because it affects our monsoon. He said it is very harsh weather to collect data at any time. A person can work outside only for 5 to 10 minutes.”

The Team leader of this expedition Dr. Rasik Ravindran, Director of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Goa talked to media on phone during this press conference and shared his experience in a very cheerful mood. Dr Ravindran said, “The Indian flag has been hoisted at the South Pole. The temperature is -70 degree C which we did not expect while planning the expedition”. Replying to a question by reporters what they can see out side and how do they feel, Dr. Ravindran said, “It is snow outside everywhere. We are feeling good and feel at the top of the world, through geographically we are at the bottom of the world. All five experiments which were designed for this expedition have been performed well. We had little problem with radiators and excels of the vehicles, which we replaced on the way. Fuel did not give any problem. ” About return journey Dr. Ravindran said, “We will take about 9 to 10 days to return to the Maitri station.”

An 8-Member team headed by Rasik Ravindra, Director of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Goa and comprising geologist, glaciologist, geophysicist and a meteorologist apart from vehicle engineers left Maitri on 13th November for South Pole.

The team used 4 specialised pre-tested Arctic Truck vehicles that have high ground clearance to negotiate rugged icy and crevasse infested terrain. Each vehicle ahd carried a mechanic-cum-driver and a scientist, along with special gears, emergency medical kit, and frozen food, navigational and scientific instruments. A mid-way fuel dump at 83 degree South latitude was used for re-fueling of trucks.

After traversing the dangerous 9-day journey over ice, the 4 trucks reached the South Pole at 1600 Hrs. Indian Standard Time (Nov.22,2010). The journey is 2,000km eah way and beset with difficult weather conditions (temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees C), undertaking science work in such condition, mechanical breakdowns, etc.

The maiden Indian science expedition to the South Pole is a milestone in our scientific research endeavours to search for the history of climate change. The secrets of global warming, which face the modern world today, may lie hidden in the ice cores of Antarctica.

The Science component of the expedition includes

a) Raising cores at regular spacing along the Maitri-South Pole (Amundsen-Scot station) traverse for study of variability of snow chemistry particular matter, etc.

b) GPR section along traverse to understand bed rock topography and Sub surface- Ice structure.

c) Study of glacial-geomorphological landforms along the plateau,

d) Collection of Meteorological and geophysical parameter along the 2000 km long traverse.

The team reached the geographic South Pole.

The National Scientific Expedition Team has covered about 2350 km in nine days. The temperature was quite low at -70 C. This was not expected when They would collect India Flag hoisted at South Pole today. Scientific expedition Team performed five experiments successfully.

KP/HS/Hb