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Plant colonisation following glacial surge resulting in rapid ice loss.

In 1993 the glacier Monacobre went into surge, resulting in a huge wave of ice travelling very fast down towards the calving edge into Lieftdfjorden. Since then the surge wave has passed and the Expedition’s role is to visit the upper reaches to witness any drawdown effect on the surrounding ice form the accumulation areas, examine any exposed ground and determine the extent of which post-surgal colonisation may have taken place. The list of any plant species found in these locations compared with those around the warm springs will be correlated and comparisons made to add to the information on site preferentiality. The observations will extend to looking for lichen and mosses as well as vascular plant species


Rocks reaching back to the Pre-Cambrian may be found in the north of the Svalbard Archipelago. These basement series can contain some of the very first indications of life on earth. Occasionally found within the later overlying Devonian Sandstones are fossils of ancient fish, so primitive that they had exoskeletons similar to those found on the Horseshoe Crab. The Devonian was the “Age of Fish” and Svalbard then lay close to the equator with our field area lying in a warm shallow sea. These blue fossil remains sometimes occur on the surface close to the margins of Monacobreen, where they will be sought by the research team for study, collection and later analysis.

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