BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY

23 Apr

The B.A.S. mounted a very interesting programme for polar enthusiasts last week.

We were shown examples of Antarctic plants (hairgrass and pearlwort), mosses.  lichens and liverworts, animals dead and live (brought back form the continent), the impressive map work, including the interesting topography of the mountains in Antarctica well below the snow line and we were given history of B.A.S. and its contribution to science.

I was fascinated by the ice cores. There are samples which reflect conditions well over 100.000.000 years ago. I was particularly interested to find how they measure the gaseous content of these samples. As I understand it the samples are placed in a vacuum, smashed to release the gases and the levels are then measured. Carbon dioxide has shown marked variation over the centuries but in recent times the level has shot up and up.

We were also shown a film about the discovery of the location of the wreck of the ‘Terra Nova’ Scott’s last ship, which was scuttled off Greenland in the 1943. I wonder what they will do with it!

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