Sør Rondane Mountains
The photographs in this collection were taken in the late austral summer of 2009 and 2010, when I was invited to join a group of six scientists from Belgium and France travelling to the newly constructed Belgian Princess Elisabeth Research Station in the Sør Rondane Mountains in East Antarctica. The Sør Rondane Mountains are the last ice-free nunataks between the coast and the South Pole in this part of East Antarctica.
Our research group was investigating deglaciation, ice-sheet thickness, and looking for evidence of microbial and other life. On arrival at the base, we joined a group of Belgians, many of them volunteers, busily putting finishing touches to the first zero-emission research base in Antarctic, the futuristic Belgian Princess Elisabeth Station, built by the Belgian International Polar Foundation. We explored the mountains around the Utsteinen Nunatak, searching for lakes that might contain a sedimentary record of past environmental change, and collected rock samples for exposure dating, to determine when the Sør Rondane Mountains were last covered in ice.
The photographs on display, and those the accompanying book, are an attempt to capture the scale of the landscape we encountered, and, in particular, its spectacular sense of calm beauty.