Ten Years of the “Library in the Ice”

Germany’s southernmost library can be found at 70°40´S, 08°16´W and has endured in one of our planet’s most inhospitable regions for ten years now. In the 2004/2005 summer in the southern hemisphere, the Cologne-based artist Lutz Fritsch erected the “Library in the Ice” on the Antarctic Ekström Ice Shelf – to create a space for interaction between science and culture in the far reaches of the “white continent”. Ever since, the library container and its collection of books have been fixtures at the Neumayer Station, a research station operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, However, the artist and the residents of the Neumayer III Station are the only ones who know which books the library holds – and that’s how it’s meant to stay.

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Shackleton and the importance of poetry

Sir Ernest Shackleton is considered one of the great polar explorers. His expeditions, especially the Nimrod and the Endurance expeditions, have become legendary and an example of hardship and battling against all odds as well as supreme leadership. However, Shackleton also had an artistic side and deemed poetry his other great love. The British polar expert Jim Mayer has ventured deep into the life of Shackleton to illuminate the importance of poetry in Shackleton’s life and his expeditions.

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Arctic iron ore for European steel production

The Mary River iron orebody of „Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation“ on Baffin Island in Nunavut is considered as one of the largest iron containing orebodies with more than 65 % content. This is good news for the economy and thereby growing wealth of the Canadian territory of Nunavut.

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Taking google street view to South Georgia, a remote Antarctic island

South Georgia Island sits at the fringes of Antarctica with wild ice-covered peaks, soaring albatrosses, constant wind, massive glaciers calving, and wave-pounded beaches filled with wildlife so dense that it is hard to walk. In summer thousands of fur seals, elephant seals and penguins congregate here to fight, mate and rear their young. But recently a rather extraordinary sight could be seen at South Georgia, a man with an alien-like appendage strapped onto his back. It was explained as the arrival of Google Streetview to South Georgia.

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Celebrating the heroes of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition – New Stamp Release

A series of three stamp issues celebrating three ‘Heroes of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition’ was released on November 5th to mark the centenary of the arrival of the expedition at Grytviken whaling station.

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Abnormal feather loss observed in penguins in Antarctica

The pathological loss of plumage or feather-loss disorder has been observed in penguins in South Africa and South America since 2006. Thereby, the insulating feathers, an important protection against the cold weather conditions, are falling out in many parts of the body. The cause of this disease remains unknown to date. It is even unclear whether the disease is viral or bacterial. On the positive side, the disease seems to be not as virulent as feared. Only a small numbers of individual birds have been reported to be affected so far.

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Research icebreaker Polarstern returns from the Antarctic prematurely

The German research icebreaker Polarstern will end its current expedition to the Antarctic earlier than planned. Due to hydraulic problems in the port engine, the ship will return to Bremerhaven for repairs in mid-March.

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John Franklin’s ships bell found in the Arctic

Few expeditions are shrouded with more mysteries than the Arctic expedition by British Royal Navy officer and explorer John Franklin who set out in search of the Northwest Passage. When ice trapped his two ships all 129 men were lost. Recently one of the ships the HMS Erebuswas found nearly 170 years after the ill-fated expedition. Divers have now recovered a bronze bell from the wreck.

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New polar underwater lab to study seafloor acidification

What carbon dioxide (CO2) is doing to our atmosphere is common knowledge, but the effects it has on our oceans are not nearly as well studied. This is about to change. Scientists will simulate a future ocean floor under the sea ice off the Australian Antarctic station at Casey this summer to observe the potential impact of ocean acidification on seafloor communities.

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The Greenlandic ice sheet goes HD

The Greenland Ice Sheet is ready for its close-up. The highest-resolution satellite images ever taken of that region are making their debut. And while each individual pixel represents only one moment in time, taken together they show the ice sheet as a kind of living body – flowing, crumbling and melting out to sea.

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