Indonesian researcher explores Antarctica’s geology

Gadjah Mada University (UGM) Yogyakarta researcher Nugroho Imam Setiawan arrived in Antarctica on Friday (Dec 23) to explore the geological conditions of the Earths southernmost continent together with a Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE) team.

A statement from UGM received by ANTARA here on Wednesday said Nugroho, who is a lecturer at the Department of Geological Engineering at UGM, was selected to join in the research on the Earths future in the Antarctic and had arrived on a Shirase expedition ship.

“Outside the ship, it is very cold, with an average temperature of minus five degrees Celsius. Thank God there have been no storms, and we no longer have nighttime because the sun shines 24 hours here,” Nugroho stated in an email sent to UGM.

He added that the Shirase ship was equipped with ice-breaker technology to clear paths as wide as the body of the ship.

The ice left in the Shirases tracks is used by a group of Adelie penguins for catching fish.

Nugroho pointed out that the Soya coast was southeast of where the ship had stopped. The coast is in the northeast of Antarctica and is covered by thick mountainous layers of ice.

The top of the snowy mountains is uncovered, displaying foliated metamorphic rocks that are clearly visible through binoculars and a long-lens camera. The study of the rock structure is part of the geological research being done in Antarctica.

“These mountains are named Langhovde—a Norwegian name—after the first inventorying country. It means a long head,” he explained.

Nugroho stated that the terrestrial biology research team will install motion sensors and cameras to monitor 20 Weddel seals, comprising 15 females and five males, to examine their habitat and activities.

The team held a vote to give names to the 20 seals. “Of the two names I suggested, one name for a female seal—GAMA, meaning Gadjah Mada—entered the top 10. The seals are the research objects,” he noted.

The first stage of the geological field work, according to Nugroho, will be carried out for 41 days from December 27 to February 5, 2017.

Nugroho is the only expedition member from Indonesia to be included in JAREs 58-person research team, following the interview and recommendations process, along with two other researchers from Mongolia and Sri Lanka.(*)