Name: Teal Riley
Job: Field Geologist
Location: Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island, Antarctic Peninsula
Rothera Research Station is the central hub of the British Antarctic Survey field science programme. Each season, up to 30 field teams are flown out to locations all over the Antarctic peninsula to gather data from specific remote sites.
To travel out into the field you must fly in a ski-equipped Twin Otter aircraft. BAS pilots are experienced in Antarctic flying and will carefully land in the most hard to reach places.
Rothera has a 900m gravel runway, but out in the field all you need is a patch of flat snow and a skillful pilot. Keep an eye out for crevasses!
Before you can go out and collect data you need to set up camp. You will have to put up your pyramid tent, organise your supplies, get your radio working and start melting some snow for a well earned cup of tea!
Once you are all set you can wave goodbye to the Twin Otter aircraft and you're on your own. Time to get your gear on and head out into the field to study some rocks.
To get to your field site you will need to travel by skidoo, before roping up and climbing up to a remote, rocky outcrop, or nunatak.
You have to be very careful when travelling out in the field as crevasses are a constant danger. Each field party has an experienced guide with them and everyone has to complete comprehensive training before being allowed away from the station.
Now you've come so far, it's time to get scientific! By studying the physical shape and angles of the rocks you can record valuable geological information.
Then get out your rock-hammer and start collecting samples. Make sure you number them carefully!
Geological field data helps scientists understand Antarctica's distant past and how it came to be where it is today. Over millions of years, the Antarctic continent slowly drifted away from the Gondwana supercontinent and ended up over the South Pole, isolated by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and destined for a big freeze!
Understanding past changes in its ice and atmosphere are vital in helping to predict how Antarctica will respond to current climate change.
Download the data files for:
Use the map to visualise the data collected from three sites around the Alexander Island area. Use the longitude and latitude values to carefully plot the rock types and strike angles of the different sites.
What does it tell you about the different regions, and why do you think they might be similar or different? How did they get to where they are now?