Turkish scientists traced the geological history of the island by conducting earth science research in and around Antarctica’s Horseshoe Island as part of the 7th National Antarctic Science Expedition.
Under the auspices of the Presidency, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry and Technology, and under the coordination of TÜBİTAK MAM Polar Research Institute, within the scope of the 7th National Antarctic Science Expedition, in the field of earth sciences carried out on Horseshoe Island and its surroundings, an investigation was carried out on the characteristics, distribution, interrelationships and petrological characteristics of the rocks outcropping on the island.
The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the blocks that make up West Antarctica. The geotectonic evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula has an important place in understanding the formation of West Antarctica.
Horseshoe Island, on which the Temporary Turkish Science Base is located, is on the Antarctic Peninsula. Horseshoe Island, with a surface area of 67.2 kilometers, also contains the oldest rocks of the Antarctic Peninsula. In addition to these rocks, Horseshoe Island has rocks belonging to geological periods, glacial deposits, and sedimentary communities showing sea level changes, allowing scientists to shed light on the future by tracing the past.
“We are here to reveal processes”
Raif Kandemir, a lecturer in the Department of Geological Engineering at Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, was led by Prof. Dr. Cüneyt Şen (Karadeniz Technical University) stated that his projects are on the petrology of Horseshoe Island magmatites and said, “During the disintegration of the Gondwana supercontinent in the Late Triassic, the Antarctic Peninsula broke away from the southern tip of the South American continent, the rocks that make up the Horseshoe Island, the Antarctic Peninsula, the South American He stated that it contains findings that can illuminate the processes from its formation in the south of the island to its patching in Antarctica and that they are here to reveal these processes.
Underlining that the rocks belonging to the metamorphic complex of the Antarctic Peninsula can be seen on Horseshoe Island, Kandemir said, “These rocks were formed due to subduction in the Paleozoic and then metamorphosed. It is possible to see old plutonic assemblages, volcanic rock assemblages, Andean Plutonic assemblage, granitic, gabbroic and dioritic rocks on Horseshoe Island.
Stating that within the scope of the project, they wanted to reveal the processes of the rocks belonging to the metamorphic basement from the southernmost tip of South America until they were patched to the Antarctic Peninsula, Kandemir said, “It is important to reveal the formation dynamics of granitic rocks, which are also related to metamorphic rocks, because these are together with the disintegration of Gondwana. It consists of almost homogeneous rocks.
The formation of rocks belonging to the Andean Plutonic Society that crops out on Horseshoe Island actually belongs to rocks with known subduction direction. By using these rocks, we aim to provide data for the rocks whose subduction direction is controversial, especially in the east of the Sakarya Zone in Turkey.”
Kandemir stated that they will examine the mineral chemistry of the rock samples they took within the scope of the project, “main trace element analyzes will be carried out in these samples. We intend to reach the result by making Uranium-Lead (U-Pb) zircon ages and Argon-Argon (Ar-Ar) age analyzes for Strontium-Neodymium (Sr-Nd) isotope analysis. When Horseshoe Island is examined, the geodiversity is quite high and many of the igneous and metamorphic rocks can be found on the island, and you can have the chance to examine these rocks.
“It will increase the visibility in the polar community”
Istanbul Technical University Polar Sciences Postgraduate Student and Geology Engineer Şevval Yalçınkaya stated that they examined the element formation mechanisms by determining the metal ratios by looking at the geochemistry of the lakes on Horseshoe Island.
Yalçınkaya said, “Within the scope of our project, we are looking at the effects of environmental effects, especially the rock-water relationship, on this formation mechanism. We took water and rock samples, albeit in harsh conditions. Analyzes and experimental studies of these samples will be carried out in the geomicrobiology and biogeochemistry laboratories of Istanbul Technical University. While the studies carried out here will increase the visibility of Turkey in the polar community, it will also support the studies on lake formation mechanisms in extreme conditions.”