1st March 2012 Interview to N. Kehrwald

nat-kehr

How did you happen to take part in scientific expeditions in extreme environments?

I vividly remember the first time that I saw a mountain over 6000 meters in elevation. I was invited to be a member of a mountaineering expedition in Perù, and when we first arrived, I was scanning the horizon for the mountains that we were going to climb. I was used to 4000 m mountains in Colorado, and so I immediately began looking at a certain altitude. I had to keep looking higher and higher, and when I eventually saw the summit I mumbled something along the lines of, “We are going to climb THAT?!”.  The immensity of the mountains and glaciers give an impression of a very permanent presence.

4 Feb 2012 Interview to G.V. Hofer

Today, we publish another interview with a participant in the autumn 2011 scientific expedition to the Ortler mountain. The person interviewed is Valentin Hofer, a doctor who took part as a member of the mountain rescue service and as a Eurac researcher/consultant.

How did you get to work on the Ortler project?

I was invited by the EURAC Institute of Alpine Emergency Medicine, both as a mountain emergency doctor and as a scientific consultant for a EURAC high altitude medicine project, which was associated with the Ortler project.

What is your particular scientific interest in high altitudes?

As a mountain emergency doctor I’m primarily interested in the various kinds of altitude sickness. Not only is the sickness itself interesting, but also possible connections to accidents on the mountain.

What kind of atmosphere was there among the participants in the camp at altitude?

Aggiornamento 2011

Almost three months have passed since the “hot” phase of the Ortler project, meaning those three weeks in September and October 2011, when an international research team extracted for the very first time an ice core from the bottom of the summit of the Ortler glacier in the Eastern Alps. This happened four times: the team was able to extract a 75 metre ice core three times and a 60 metre core once.

During that same period some 20 high school students from the surrounding area got involved through educational activities organised by the same researchers. The goal was to bring teachers and students to the place where the research was taking place – and while it was ongoing – in order to allow them to “witness” the research.

18 November: Science day

A few weeks ago the “Science Days” took place in Bolzano at EURAC. It is a type of fair around the subject of teaching science, where students, teachers and authorities met in order to find out about and present the projects currently ongoing in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano.

This initiative is organised by the Italian Division for Education and Training – Pedagogical Section- of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano. The schools participating in the Ortler project also took part and each student group gave a brief presentation on their own work to the audience. You can find all presentations on our homepage.

 

It was a unique opportunity to observe personally whether and how much has been going on in the schools regarding this project. It all happened only short time after those 20 days in September, when the three main educational activities took place: the glaciology camp, the visit to the perforation site and the Social Media Campus.

We were particularly impressed by the enthusiasm, the energy and the passion demonstrated by the students while presenting their experiences. They used various methods: short papers, close examinations, picture galleries, etc. All this also positively impressed the (young and older) students visiting the fair.

 

3 November Interview with Paolo Gabrielli

A few days ago the “Science Day” took place in Bolzano/Bozen at EURAC. The Science Day is a type of fair where projects, proposals and ideas for teaching science in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Bozen were presented. The ORTLER project was presented as well and we were able to see close up how much has been happening around this project so far. We will soon publish new posts including pictures and reports about the work currently going on in all participating schools.

Today we have the honour of publishing an interview with Dr. Paolo Gabrielli, a researcher from the Trentino region in Italy, who is also the scientific coordinator of the project. He was able to answer to some of our questions shortly before returning to work at the Byrd Polar Centre of the Ohio State University of Columbus (USA).

Paolo, you are shortly due to go back to the USA. Four ice cores, three of them reaching down to the rock underneath the glacier, were extracted. Were you expecting such a result a few months ago?

To tell you the truth, yes, I was expecting this, although the extraction of four ice cores was our most ambitious goal. We had prepared everything in such a way that would allow this result. I would have considered extracting one such ice core, reaching down to the rock, a success. This was not a certainty at the outset… especially considering the technical difficulties we had during the operations.

What are the unique features of this project?

18 October – The outcome

Below is a short summary report of what happened on the Ortler project over the course of the last month.

Between 23 September and6 October 2011, four ice cores were extracted at 3,860 metres from the “Vedretta Alta dell’Ortles” glacier in South Tyrol. This is the first time ice cores have been extracted from the Eastern Alps. The rock, which lies 75 metres below the glacier, was reached during three of the extractions, whereas during the last operation, perforation only reached 60 metres.

13th October 3-1. Let’s summarise!

Today we would like to summarise what’s happened so far.

As you might have guessed, the group of researchers has left the summit glacier of the Ortler mountain where perforation activities had been taking place. They took down all structures beginning the afternoon of 6 October and left the site the following morning. The helicopter had to make 20 return flights in order to bring all the material down to the valley, including the four precious ice cores which had been extracted during four separate operations.

4 October 2011 – …and a THIRD!

Yesterday the researchers and technicians were able to extract another ice core from the summit glacier of the Ortler mountain. For the third time within just a few days they were able to reach the rocks on which the glacier lies.

This time, not only the climatic but also the perforation conditions were particularly favourable. Since the upper layers only contained little melt water, which therefore did not obstruct the hole, the perforation was faster.