Virtual Base Camp

Expeditions by Year

Welcome to the Virtual Base Camp, the starting point for your exploration of the polar regions with PolarTREC teachers and researchers!

PolarTREC expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica can be found here starting in 2007 to 2015. You can also access archived expeditions to the Arctic that took place through TREC in 2004-2006. Journals, photos, ask the team forums, and information about each expedition can be found by following the links to all the expeditions. Use the Expedition Search feature to narrow your choices or find a particular expedition or region. Use the Members feature to find teachers and researchers involved with PolarTREC expeditions.

A new feature to the Virtual Base Camp are Projects. Projects are expeditions that had teachers for more than one year. You can learn more about the science and see all the teachers and researchers involved in the research project over two or more years. You can also access all the related project resources (presentations, lessons, PolarConnect events, etc.) related to the projects.

2010 Expeditions

Organization: 
Jefferson Township Middle School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
2 July 2010 to 3 August 2010
Location:
Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
What Are They Doing?
During this multi-year, multi-location project, the research team collected and analyzed archaeological and paleoenvironmental data from three widely separated but environmentally comparable sites within the northern circumpolar region: the Yli-li area of Northern Finland, the Wemindji area of James Bay, Canada, and the Kamchatka Peninsula region of Russia. Working on the Kamchatka Peninsula, the research team examined prehistoric human responses, or adaptations, to changes in climate and the...
Organization: 
West High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
5 July 2010 to 17 August 2010
Location:
Isfjord Radio, Svalbard Archipelago, Norway
What Are They Doing?
The team traveled to Svalbard, Norway, located in the High Arctic, to investigate how high latitude glaciers, melt-water streams, and sedimentation in lakes and fjords respond to climate change. The Svalbard region has been marked by the retreat of glaciers, reductions in sea ice, and measurable warming throughout the Holocene period, and more specifically during the last 90 years. The Svalbard archipelago has preserved geologic records of climate change since the last ice age, which makes it...
Organization: 
Foothills Academy
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
13 July 2010 to 5 August 2010
Location:
Raven Bluff Site near Kivalina, Alaska
What Are They Doing?
Fluted projectile points are small stone tools created from rock that were used by early humans as knives, arrowheads, or both. Finding, interpreting, and dating fluted projectile points can help archaeologists learn more about the earliest humans to inhabit the Americas. On this project, the team looked for fluted projectile points at the Raven Bluff Site in northwest Alaska to learn more about the early inhabitants of Alaska and the arctic. Fossil plants also at the site helped the...
Organization: 
The Gateway School of Environmental Research and Technology
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
16 July 2010 to 23 August 2010
Location:
Barrow Alaska
What Are They Doing?
The International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) is a network of science experiments set up to study the impact of climate change on plants that live in tundra and alpine ecosystems. Plants at each site are exposed to simulated warmer temperatures using an open top chamber, which acts like a mini greenhouse, trapping heat close to the plants. Research teams at more than two dozen circumpolar sites carry out similar experiments, allowing scientists to compare the plants responses to warmer climate...
Organization: 
National Science Foundation
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
19 July 2010 to 26 July 2010
Location:
Various Locations, Greenland
What Are They Doing?
The expedition members visited several research sites in Greenland as part of an initiative to foster enhanced international scientific cooperation between the United States, Denmark, and Greenland. The expedition members spent several days learning about the research conducted in Greenland, the logistics involved in supporting the research, and gained first-hand experience conducting experiments and developing inquiry-based educational activities. This year's work builds on the 2007, 2008, and...
Organization: 
Centennial Middle School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
31 July 2010 to 6 September 2010
Location:
USCGC Healy in the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi Seas
What Are They Doing?
This joint U.S.-Canada research cruise used two icebreakers to collect data to identify the edge of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean. As needed, the Healy broke sea ice for the Louis S. St-Laurent, while it collected data to map the geology of the sub-seabed. Scientists aboard the Healy also measured seafloor bathymetry, collected high-resolution sub-seafloor data, made ice observations, collected water samples, and monitored marine mammals and ocean noise through high frequency audio...
Organization: 
Success at Schwarz Academy
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
3 August 2010 to 22 August 2010
Location:
Deadhorse, Alaska
What Are They Doing?
Permafrost is any part of the ground (soil, rock, ice, humus) that remains at or below freezing for more than one year. The research team studied the active layer of the permafrost, the layer of the ground between the surface and the permafrost that freezes each winter and thaws each summer. They visited numerous research sites, and at each site, they collected data on the soil and air temperature, soil moisture content, and active layer depth and changes. Observational data from each site...
Organization: 
Gateway High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
12 August 2010 to 22 August 2010
Location:
Summit, Greenland
What Are They Doing?
Solar radiation is the major energy source that drives our climate and supports life on earth. In this project, the research team gained a better understanding of the solar radiation reflected back into space and absorbed by our planet, also known as the Earth’s heat balance. The team collected data related to this balance using weather observing instruments and a specially equipped aircraft that could detect wind speed and directions and electromagnetic radiation. The measurements were part of...
Organization: 
Cabrillo College
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
22 September 2010 to 30 December 2010
Location:
McMurdo Station, Antarctica
What Are They Doing?
By utilizing a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and by SCUBA diving below the sea ice, the research team collected data related to the benthic, or seafloor-dwelling, animals living in McMurdo Sound. The seafloor of McMurdo Sound is one of the few areas in the polar regions where benthic animals have been studied for over 40 years. By comparing historical data to data from the present, the team helped to understand changes in the benthic ecosystem. In addition, they studied how benthic species...
Organization: 
Washington-Lee High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
13 November 2010 to 10 December 2010
Location:
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica
What Are They Doing?
A large international team of scientists and drilling technicians worked throughout the austral summer to continue assembling and testing the world's largest scientific instrument, the in-ice IceCube Neutrino Detector. Neutrinos are incredibly common (about 10 million pass through your body as you read this) subatomic particles that have no electric charge and almost no mass. They are created by radioactive decay and nuclear reactions, such as those on the sun and other stars. Neutrinos rarely...
Organization: 
University of New Hampshire/ Desert Research Institute
Occupation: 
Researcher
Dates:
15 November 2010 to 15 February 2011
Location:
West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide, Antarctica
What Are They Doing?
Using a large hollow drill, the WAIS Divide Ice Core Drilling team aimed to collect a 3,500-meter-long ice core, or sample of ice, from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Because of the weight of the overlying snowpack, snow that falls and accumulates on ice sheets re-crystallizes and forms annual layers over time. The ice core recovered during the project had annual resolution, or distinct yearly markings, for the past 40,000 years. In ice sheets, the compression of snow traps small bubbles of air...
Organization: 
Rawlins High School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
29 November 2010 to 16 January 2011
Location:
Beardmore Glacier Remote Camps, Antarctica
What Are They Doing?
During this project, the team worked at various sites on the Beardmore Glacier and looked for glacially transported rocks, also known as glacial erratics. Erratics are rocks carried by the glacier as the ice moves. Erratics on the Beardmore Glacier are important because they can serve as an indicator of when and how fast the Antarctic Ice Sheet receded after the last ice age 10,000-20,000 years ago. The research team used a method called surface exposure dating to estimate the length of time...
Organization: 
J.B.Monlux Magnet Elem. School
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
4 December 2010 to 20 January 2011
Location:
Swedish Icebreaker Oden in the Southern Seas
What Are They Doing?
As the Oden and the Palmer traveled towards McMurdo Station from Chile, international teams of researchers on board both ships investigated the summer sea ice, biology, oceanography, and biogeochemistry of the Amundsen Sea Polynya. Polynyas are areas of open water surrounded by sea ice and are very productive parts of the polar oceans where nutrients are rapidly exchanged between the atmosphere, ocean surface, and the deep sea. The research team looked closely at the processes that control the...
Organization: 
University of Kansas and the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS)
Occupation: 
Teacher
Dates:
29 January 2011 to 14 February 2011
Location:
McMurdo Station
What Are They Doing?
Glaciers are like moving rivers of ice, and their rate of movement can vary depending on many factors including friction, the slope of underlying bedrock, and climate. Byrd Glacier is unique because it goes through large changes in its speed in response to two subglacial lakes, lakes that remain unfrozen underneath the glacier, which drain periodically. This project was designed to study the changes in glacier behavior on timescales from minutes to years by closely monitoring Byrd Glacier for...