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22 March - 16 April 2013 Punta Arenas (Chile) - Port Stanley (Falkland)

Leg 4 of POLARSTERN cruise 29 is dedicated to the eastern Scotia Sea which is part of the antarctic South Atlantic Ocean. The main goal is to perform investigations on fluid and gas circulation of the Sandwich Microplate. Recent investigations have proved hydrothermal activities at the backarc spreading center, as well as at volcanoes. In contrast active fluid seepage in the forecarc between the island arc and deep sea trench is completely unknown and therefore a goal of this expedition to explore. Besides this, also marine geoscientific work will be performed south of Falkland and around South Georgia.

Track line of RV POLARSTERN Cruise ANT-XXIX/4.

The up to 15 million year old Sandwich plate has a regular formation of about 6-7 cm per year, caused by seafloor spreading at the East Scotia Ridge, while in its east the plate is eroding due to subduction of the Southamerican plate beneath the Sandwich plate. The southern limitation of the Sandwich plate is caused by a transformation fault along the Antarctic Plate.

King Penguins at South Georgia

Chief Scientist:
Gerhard Bohrmann

Phone: +49 421 21865051
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Weekly Reports

The island arc of the South Sandwich Islands forms the highest volcanic elevations on the Sandwich Microplate. Highest mountain with 1,370 m above sea level is Mount Belinda Volcano on Montagu Island. The young Sandwich Microplate is bordered in the East by the over 8,000 m deep abyssal trench, and in the West by the East Scotia spreading zone which consists of 10 well defined segments.