Hamilton students are now pursuing their studies on all seven continents. On Oct. 10, Chief Scientist Eugene Domack, the J. W. Johnson Family Professorship of Environmental Studies, began an 18-day cruise to Antarctica along with two Hamilton students and two alumni. The team has already made their first stop on the continent. Hamilton cruise participants include Deanna D’Amato Nappi ’15, Katie Davies Smith ’13, Garrett Akie ’12 and Amelia Shevenell ’96, assistant professor in the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida.

The researchers are engaged in collecting and analyzing ocean floor sediment core samples from the western drainage of the Bruce Plateau Ice Dome. They plan to test findings from previous expeditions for which Domack served as principal investigator.

The team will also be installing a cGPS station, the seventh of its kind on the Antarctic Peninsula and a part of the cGPS network established by the LARISSA (LARsen Ice Shelf System, Antarctica) project. These stations continuously transmit meteorological data and elevation data to enable researchers to quantify crustal rebound and determine how it relates to warming and ice mass loss/gain on the Antarctic Peninsula. 

Sailing on the LM Gould, the Hamilton researchers have stopped at Copacabana field camp on King George Island in the South Shetlands where  scientists studying penguin populations disembarked with their field gear. The ship will continue on to several locations along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula including Palmer Station and Hugo Island.

This expedition has been informally called LARISSA II. The LARISSA project was part of the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Integrated Systems Science (AISS) department. It was initiated in 2007 in response to the collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf in 2002. The collapse prompted scientist to discover as much as possible about the newly exposed area. It was the first interdisciplinary project funded in the AISS program of the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs and was officially launched in the closing days of the International Polar Year.

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