German Antarctic North Victoria Land Expedition and GEA – Geodynamic Evolution of East Antarctica
GANOVEX - German Antarctic North Victoria Land Expedition
Since 1979, the key targets of BGR’s activities in the Antarctic under the long-term GANOVEX programme (German Antarctic North Victoria Land Expedition) have been northern Victoria Land and the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. In northern Victoria Land, BGR operates two summer stations, the Lillie-Marleen Hut (since 1980, since 2005 listed as Historic site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty) and Gondwana Station at Gerlache Inlet of the Terra Nova Bay (since 1983). BGR’s investigations within the GANOVEX programme focus on the relationship of Antarctica to other fragments of the former supercontinent Gondwana, particularly Australia and New Zealand. When BGR began its work in Antarctica, large areas of northern Victoria Land were still geologically blank regions on the maps. Plate tectonic models of the Earth’s crustal evolution at the former palaeo-Pacific margin of Gondwana did not yet exist. Only numerous individual investigations and observations in combination with comprehensive geological mapping gave way to recognize the former plate tectonic configuration. In this way, new geographical names relating to BGR’s Antarctic research began to appear on international geological maps of northern Victoria Land (e.g., BGR Nevé, GANOVEX Range).
GEA – Geodynamic Evolution of East Antarctica
Since 2010, BGR has carried out the long-term GEA project (Geodynamic Evolution of East Antarctica), in close collaboration with the Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). GEA evolved from several precursor projects that had been running since the 1990s in different regions of East Antarctica. The GEA project covers a wide range of research topics and methods including structural geology, aero- and ground-based geophysics, geochemistry, petrology, geochronology, and thermochronology. The two AWI aircraft Polar 5 and Polar 6 have been used as platforms for the aerogeophysical surveys, which make it possible to trace rock bodies and structures even below ice-covered regions. The higher-level goal of GEA is to study the crust structure and crust formation in East Antarctica, and the development of the landscape in its current forms as the result of the interaction of different factors, such as tectonics, lithology and the climate, based on a combined geological-geophysical approach.