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Indian National Report
January 2006

Prepared by: Thamban Meloth

India has been very active on Antarctic research for more than two decades. India has initiated a program to understand the Antarctic environmental changes in the recent past using the ice sheet archives. The Indian contribution of interest to the ITASE program is being carried out in the Central Dronning Maud Land (CDML) within the logistic reaches of the Indian station Maitri (Fig. 1). Leading Indian organizations involved in the ice core drilling program in CDML include:

  1. National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa.
  2. Geological Survey of India - Antarctic Division (GSI-AD), Faridabad.

Location map

Fig. 1. Locations of ice cores recently drilled by Indian
scientists and the proposed Indian traverse.

FIELD STUDIES carried out include:

  1. Accumulation rate studies (stake readings) in the ice shelf region;
  2. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) measurements within the polar ice sheet between the Vetehiea and Tallaksenverden nuntaks;
  3. Shallow to medium depth ice core drilling (50-80 m depth) at few locations in the polar ice sheet (Fig. 2).
  4. During the 2005-06 summer field season, our colleagues collected a 65 m long core near to the Humboldt mountains (CDML) under extremely challenging field conditions. Since the drilling operations were carried out in open without any tent cover, the operations were carried out during the nights. Further, several surface samples (~50 cm long each) were collected from the shelf region.

LABORATORY STUDIES on the ice cores retrieved include:

A 62 m ice core collected during an earlier season that spans nearly the past 500 years have been analysed for glacio-chemistry and the data is being published. Ion Chromatographic analysis for major anions and cations, Photo drilling activity
Fig. 2. Ice core drilling activity in CDML
during 2003 by Indian scientists
ICP-MS analysis for inorganic elemental chemistry, IRMS analysis for stable isotopes. Data is being interpreted and published. Beginning from the 2006 summer, a long-term campaign for GPR survey, ice core drilling and analysis will be jointly carried out by NCAOR and GSI-AD along a chosen traverse between the ice shelf and interior mountains. It is expected that the ongoing and planned Indian field and laboratory studies will significantly contribute to the better understanding of the environmental changes during the past few hundreds of years in study area and thus will contribute to the ITASE objectives.