WACSWAIN Drill Log: preparing for fieldwork

Most of us assume that the key skills for our research are academic ones. But preparing for our field season in Antarctica for the WACSWAIN project, it’s obvious just how many other skills and attributes are needed, and how we rely on our non-academic support staff.

Nine of us are now waiting at Rothera research station on the Antarctic Peninsula, ready to fly into the field – four from Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences, and five from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

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Research on ice – introducing the WACSWAIN project

Four Cambridge Earth Scientists are about to travel to Antarctica for three months, where they will turn to the past to assess the risks to the future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Project leader Professor Eric Wolff explains the aims and importance of their research.

Many large cities, and all those who get their living from the sea, live close to sea level. As a result, even small rises in sea level expose millions of people to extra risk. Sea level is currently rising due to a combination of melting glaciers, thermal expansion of the warming ocean, and contributions from large ice sheets.

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Scanning Ediacaran fossils in Newfoundland

In September, I spent three weeks in Newfoundland, Canada working on world class Ediacaran fossil surfaces with Emily Mitchell, Charlotte Kenchington and Lucy Roberts. After eight hours of travelling, our bright red truck full of precision equipment, people and food arrived in the town of Portugal Cove South. We settled into ‘The Green House’, where we would be staying, and promptly collapsed in bed.

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Dragon watching: unlocking mysteries of lizard movement

Image: Laura Wolf/Flickr.

Evolutionary biomechanist and NERC DTP PhD student Luke Grinham’s research focuses on the evolutionary transition from a quadrupedal style of movement to a bipedal one in reptiles.

I tend to take two different but complimentary approaches to answering my research questions: observations and interpretations of fossil material, and musculoskeletal anatomy and biomechanics of living reptiles. These two directives frequently inspire and inform findings in each other. I’ll give a brief overview what I tend to do here!

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Deploying nBOSS: the North Borneo Orogeny Seismic Survey

Bye bye “Beast from the East”. We couldn’t have chosen a better time (and location!) for some fieldwork as we left behind an extreme cold snap that froze the UK and dumped fresh snow on Cambridge. In March a team of seismologists from the University of Cambridge and University of Aberdeen boarded a plane for Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah in North Borneo (Malaysia).

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A day in the field: geological mapping of Northern Baffin Island

The Archean Eon (4–2.5 billion years ago) is one of the last great frontiers in our knowledge of the Earth. Plate tectonics is considered to have initiated during this time period, and large volumes of the continental crust formed, but fundamental questions remain regarding the timing, mechanisms and drivers of these transitions.

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