Mirniy Station, Antarctica, April 14, 2020. – The specialists of Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition (PMGRE, a subsidiary of RosGeo) have successfully completed the field aerogeophysical works in East Antarctica, as stipulated by the program of the 65-th Russian Antarctic Expedition (RAE).

From January to March 2020 airborne geophysical detachment of PMGRE Antarctic geophysical squad under the state contract carried out an integrated airborne geophysical survey on a scale of 1: 500 000 on the landfill area of almost 15,000 km2 in the south-western part of Queen Mary Land. The work included aerial survey and radar sensing of glaciers and was conducted from AN-2 aircraft based at an ice airfield near the Russian Antarctic Mirniy Station. During the season 35 routes has been completed of total 5490 km linear length.

The survey landfill is located on the slope of the East Antarctic Cover Glacier with a difference in surface heights from 1350 m to 2150 m. The flights were carried out at a constant altitude of 2200 m. Despite extremely difficult weather conditions (in the middle of summer the temperature here does not exceed -150C with a continuous wind of 15-20 m/s), as well as remoteness of the survey area from the base (up to 270 km), which required a lot of time for flying up to, the aerial geophysical survey was carried out in full.

According to radar sensing, the survey area is covered by a glacier of thickness from 500 m to 2500 m, and the subglacial relief is mainly represented by a hilly plain, there are depths of up to 600-700 m below sea level in the west and in the center of it. According to magnetometry, a crystalline foundation, composed of weakly magnetic metamorphous rocks, lies throughout the area. On the eastern edge of the landfill, the geophysicists found the mountains with steep slopes and peak elevations of 1200-1400 m above the sea level, broken down by deep canyons. It is assumed that this mountain system is a subglacial continuation of the Obrucheva mountains, which frame the glaciers of the Scott Reef System from the west, which mapping the specialists of PMGRE aerial geophysical detachment plan to begin during the next 66-th Russian Antarctic Expedition.

“The completed field works are the continuation of perennial national surveys in Antarctica, during which only aerial geophysical surveys have passed over 700 thousand km linear in the coastal strip of almost half of the continent," noted Sergey Kozlov, the chief geologist of PMGRE, doctor of geological and mineralogical sciences. “Nevertheless, the vast areas of East Antarctica in hundreds of thousands of square kilometers even today still remain a "terra incognita", we are less aware of their geomorphology than about the relief of the ocean floor or the surface of the Moon, and only aerophysics allows to gradually fill these gaps."


Experts and equipment of PMGE, squadron pilots and disassembled AN-2 aircraft for airborne geophysical survey within the 65-th Russian Antarctic Expedition were delivered to Mirniy at the end of December 2019 by the research-expedition vessel "Akademik Treshnikov". At the end of March 2020, the research-expedition vessel "Akademik Fedorov" began to evacuate the seasonal team of the 65 Russian Antarctic Expedition from the Russian stations, including Mirniy, it took home the specialists and equipment of the airborne geophysical detachment of PMGRE. In mid-April, researchers of Antarctica will depart from Novolazarevskaya station to Cape Town (South Africa), and then return to Russia.

Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition JSC (PMGE) is a specialized company involved in the comprehensive geological and geophysical research into the geological structure of subsoils and explorations for minerals in all the most hard-to-reach regions of the Earth: Arctic, Antarctic, and the World Ocean. PMGE has three field bases in Antarctica and a field base in the Svalbard archipelago.

RosGeo is a Russian multi-disciplinary geological holding that carries out a full range of services related to geological exploration: from regional surveys to parametric drilling and monitoring of subsoil conditions. The holding company boasts a unique expertise, particularly in marine geology and shelf operations. A total of more than 1000 fields and deposits have been discovered by the holding’s companies, including major hydrocarbon and solid mineral deposits and fields. Rosgeo is a fully state-owned company.