February 14th 2018

After a safe arrival in Antarctica, Matthias, Steven and field guide Raphael started searching for micrometeorites today. Our first goal was a glacial moraine next to the Vengen mountain, Sør Rondane, which is approximately 1 hour away from the Princess Elisabeth station using skidoos. We decided to sample glacial moraine because thousands of micrometeorites were previously successfully extracted from moraines located next to the Larkman Nunatak, Transantarctic Mountains. The nice weather allowed us to take our time to identify suitable sampling sites on the downwind side of this very large moraine. After spending about 3 hours sampling 5 sites, we made our way back towards the Princess Elisabeth station, where we quickly started looking for micrometeorites in our moraine samples. It didn’t take us long to find three cosmic spherules (i.e. melted micrometeorites) in two different samples! This first day of micrometeorite hunting is thus a success and motivates us to look at more glacial moraines and deposits near mountain summits in the area.


Sunday Feb. 11 2018

Today, our colleagues Steven Goderis (VUB) and Matthias Van Ginneken (ULB) are leaving Cape Town to Antarctica.  If weather permitting (as usual in Antarctica), after a short stay at the Russian air base, they will arrive on the new airfield Perseus located ~60 km away from Princess Elizabeth station. Steven and Matthias will look for micrometeorites around the Belgian station. Micrometeorites are obviously meteorites, but less than 2 mm size (more info can be found in the attached file). Because of their small size, they contain information sometimes different and thus complementary compared to meteorites. The cold and dry climate of Antarctica is ideal for preserving those fragile stones from space. They will brush cracks in rocks to collect dust, a mixture of terrestrial and extraterrestrial material. Micrometeorites will be recovered later in the lab by magnetic separation and hand-picking under microscope.



Monday December 18

Bye, Bye the “Atmosphere Container”, and the Station PEA…

Thank you very much for your precious help, advices, availability, friendship,…!!!

I will never forget it.

From Nadine Mattielli


Saturday December 16

On December 14, Jérôme and Sergei (the Colonel Doctor from the Russian boat) came to pick us up with a Jeep and after one day driving on the ice cap we were back at the station PEA. It was time to recover, to take a shower, to check the status of the active dust collectors (active pumps), and to go again on the field… The last time…

We were lucky with the weather and we could easily visit the top of the Teltet nunatak and look at the geology. Very interesting and beautiful (views of the Sor Rondane mountains, and the PEA station, from the Teltet’s summit).

From Nadine Mattielli

Wednesday December 13

Before leaving the campground and going back to the station for Christophe and I, TJ managed to hang all the drawings he had received from children on the containers. All those drawings are amazing and so beautiful. A nice picture with the band!!

From Nadine Mattielli

Tuesday December 12

After having completed our snow sampling and installation of the passive samplers for inorganic and organic compositions of the airborne particles, we celebrated the drilling milestone depth of 200m!! Porto on ice for everyone (or whisky…). At 9 pm, the CHASE and glaciologist teams gather into the 12 feet container for reparations, working, drinking and also eating… Antarctica, the place for cold icy immensity and warm human nearness.

From Nadine Mattielli

Saturday – Sunday and Monday 9 – 11 of December

Saturday started with a very good weather, but quickly the white-out appears. It was then really hard to distinguish the sky from the ground. In addition, a strong “drift wind” continuously blew on the ground. This wind creates the reliefs so beautiful at the surface of the ice or the snow, but so unfriendly when you go out of your tent or have to go on field to sample. We reached the sampling site 36km away from the campground. Not easy… but finally the sun pushed away the white-out effects and we could see again our tracks in the snow.

From Nadine Mattielli

Friday December 8:

It was a good day, with good weather. Many tasks on the field were planned. All the skidoos were used, and on our side, Frank, Christophe and I left the camp to go to our sampling site at the Northern part of the Ice Rise. We quickly drove 15km from the camp and after the white wide infinities, a bluish one appears with deposits of some ice cubes … We could not believe our eyes… real icebergs. Even if they are far away, they are gorgeous!!  I had time to observe them because I had to collect 140L (in volume) of snow!! The three poles are in place. We did a good job.

From Nadine Mattielli

December 7

Thursday December 7:

The activities in the camp were organized into two shifts: the team of Frank, Stef and TJ wake up at 7:30 am and go on the field to make radar profiles or GNSS profiles; the team of Jean-Louis, Etienne and Emmanuel wake up at 1:30 pm, start to drill the ice cores until 4 or 5 am (when there is no risk of ice melting by the sun). Christophe and I joined the more traditional daylight shift but all the teams often join the drillers to help… or to celebrate a milestone depth!!

From Nadine Mattielli

Wednesday December 6

Wednesday December 6, we left the station with two Toyota Jeeps. Even if the Jeep looks a Mad Max car, the speed is limited at 15km/h because of the snow reliefs and the ice. For ±170 km, we spent 12h to join the camp of glaciologists.

From Nadine Mattielli