2023 Field Expedition: Exploration in Cordillera Darwin

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In March, a group of members of the AG “Glacier Systems & Natural Hazards” and “Remote Sensing & GIS” of the Institute of Geography led a field expedition in Cordillera Darwin, Chile. The expedition had the goal of exploring the area surrounding marine-terminating and land-terminating glaciers for planning future fieldwork campaigns, mainly concerning airborne radar soundings to map the topography of specific glaciers of the region.

Mainly three glaciers were in focus: Glacier Marinelli, Glacier Relander and Glacier Videla, the three stretching from the dome of the Cordillera towards Fjord Almirantazgo. The first two are calving glaciers, as they terminate in the fjord waters or lakes, whilst the latter still presents a snout that ends over land. Researchers of other chilean institutions, i.e. the University of Magallanes, University of Concepción and the Center of Scientific Studies – CECs), also participated in this programme.

The international team of FAU and chilean researchers left Punta Arenas on a cruise crossing the Straight of Magallanes deep into the fjord systems of the Cordillera Darwin. Three full days were used to explore the area surrounding the glaciers, looking for potential spots for fueling the helicopter carrying the radar antenna during the surveys, potential camping areas and secure access to the glaciers. Bathymetry measurements were also taken close to the calving fronts of such glaciers by means of a sensor installed on a kayak.

Pictures below give an impression of the wonderful trip at the end of the world!


(Photo credits to AG-Fürst: Dr. Johannes Fürst, Franziska Temme and Dr. Ilaria Tabone)