Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 14 Aug 2017

Expedition details (GPF2017b-003)

Expedition Name (& Club): Svalbard 2018 - Austre Broggerbreen
Destination country: Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Region: Austre Broggerbreen, Broggerhalvoya Peninsula, Svalbard
Lat: 78.9100 Long: 11.8114 Elevation: 114 m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Ms Jayne Kamintzis
Total cavers: 3
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 1
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 0
UK/nonUK cavers: 3/0
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 0
Expedition dates: 1st Mar 2018 - 9th Mar 2018
Duration (days): 9
Man-days in field: 18 Man-days travelling: 12
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

The objective of the expedition is to conduct a repeat cave survey of the main ice channel transporting water out of the Austre Broggerbreen glacier system, using Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) to recreate the channel interior in three-dimensions. This englacial channel was previously surveyed in March 2017 by the intended 2018 expedition team, with this second survey being proposed in order to determine the nature and rate of channel change after a single melt season.
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

Please explain the aspects of the trip which make it eligible for Ghar Parau funding.

This expedition is eligible for GPF for several reasons:
- The project uses innovative and novel TLS techniques for the scientific study of an ice cave in the remote Svalbard region, to reveal its interior geometry in greater detail than that afforded by traditional surveying techniques, providing mm-cm scale mapping.
- Successful mapping of the cave by team members in 2017 provides preparatory work and research, meaning that the team has prior knowledge of the cave's accessibility and experience operating within this area. Furthermore, the applicant has financially managed 2 field seasons to this region, including the 2017 research trip.
- Research conducted will form a major part of the PhD applicant's doctoral thesis, and will form the basis of journal paper outputs.

Any grant aid will be extremely beneficial to the project, allowing for its conduction, as there is insufficient funding awarded to the PhD student to support a return trip, in order to conduct a repeat survey.
Detailed description of objectives:

Give a more detailed account of the purpose of the trip, including any particular known caves you intend to visit, specific areas where you will explore for new cave, and scientific experiments you will attempt.

Meltwater channels within glacier ice are relatively inaccessible, meaning that direct observations and measurements of such channels are limited and, thus, little is known about their evolution over time. As this delivery of meltwater to the interior and base of ice masses influences glacier mass balance, as a result of its close association with ice dynamics, it is crucial to enhance scientific understanding of the ways in which water is routed through a glacier.

Therefore, the main objective of the expedition is to provide a second laser scan survey of the main englacial channel delivering water to the glacier forefield, in order to determine the nature, and quantify the rate, of channel change between the March 2017 and March 2018 surveys. This will identify how the ice channel changes over the course of one summer melt season.

To achieve this, the main field objectives of the expedition are:

- To conduct full laser scans of the main englacial meltwater channel exiting the glacier, to reconstruct the channel interior in 3D.
- To identify structural glaciological features within the channel, in terms of fractures, faults and debris.
- To conduct traditional cave surveying techniques of the channel to serve as complementary and contingency data.

The data collected will be fully processed and analysed upon return to the UK, to provide detailed maps of the interior geometry of the channel, including planform, cross-section and longitudinal profiles. The processed point clouds produced by the laser scanner, and the aforementioned maps will be compared to the 2017 surveys, to identify areas of morphological change. This will enable quantification of this change in three-dimensions, to reveal the rate at which this englacial channel has changed over an annual timescale, something not previously achieved.

Previous work in this area:

Give details of any previous work in this area by your own and other teams. Include references to reports and articles published on the area, and the names of any local cavers or academics with whom you have discussed the Expedition.

There have been several studies into the englacial hydrological system of Austre Broggerbreen, using a variety of geophysical, dye tracing and glacio-speleological techniques. This research has given an insight into the changes in meltwater chemistry as the glacier thermal regime has changed from a polythermal to a cold-based one, as well as providing evidence of water flow through the ice from different surface inputs to the main portal of the glacier.
Several moulins on the glacier provide accessible entry points for the conduction of speleological investigation. Research by Vatne and others has focused on the geometry and morphology of englacial conduits, exploring the differences between such channels, the features found within them that reflect/influence water flow, and the formation of such features. Furthermore, Stuart et al (2003) used ground penetrating radar (GPR) techniques to survey the length of the englacial channel leading to the portal, which is the channel to be studied by this expedition. This study found that the channel links to a large moulin situated in the lower ablation zone of the glacier, and mapped the length using the results of the GPR study and direct observations made close to the moulin.

More specifically, the ice channel intended for surveying on this expedition was explored and mapped using a laser scanner in March 2017, by the principal investigator and the proposed personnel for the intended 2018 survey, Catrin Thomas. This research demonstrates the accessibility of the channel entrance, which is at ground level and allows easy walking entry and maneuverability. The channel was scanned from the entrance to ~ 300 m upstream, with detailed notes being made on the glaciological structure and morphology.


Stuart G (2003) Characterization of englacial channels by ground-penetrating radar: An example from austre Brøggerbreen, Svalbard. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(B11). (doi:10.1029/2003jb002435)

Vatne G (2001) Geometry of englacial water conduits, Austre Brøggerbreen, Svalbard. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography, 55(2), 85-93. (doi:10.1080/713786833)

Vatne G and Irvine-Fynn TDL (2016) Morphological dynamics of an englacial channel. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20(7), 2947-2964. (doi:10.5194/hess-20-2947-2016)

Vatne G and Refsnes I (2003) Channel pattern and geometry of englacial conduits. 6th International Symposium 'Glacier caves and karst in Polar Regions', Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, 181-188.

Expedition Finances


Travel plans:
Travel by car from Aberystwyth, Wales to London Heathrow (UK). Travel by air from London Heathrow (UK) to Longyearbyen (Svalbard). Travel to Ny-Alesund by air.

Return travel by the same format.

# from UK: 3 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £2,861 £62 = fuel for return car journey to London Heathrow airport
£84 = airport parking for duration of fieldwork
£921 = 3 X return flights from London Heathrow to Longyearbyen (£307 pp)
£1794 = 3 X return flights from Longyearbyen to Ny-Alesund (£598 pp)

# from outside UK: 0 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £0 N/A

Travel total: £2,861 Travel p.p. from UK: £953
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £0


Total: £1,147 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £382 £1147 = 3 X board in Ny-Alesund (£382.33 pp)


Total: £706 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £235 Rental of snowmobile and sledge for 1 week (only 1 needed, not necessary per person).

Special 1

Total: £1,200 Comments:
Special 1 p.p.: £400 Salary for BAS (British Antarctic Survey) assistant (approx. based on 2016 costs for BAS assistant salary for 10 days)
Exped Total: £5,914 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £1,970
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £0
Mean Exped cost per person: £1,971

Other Funding

Total: £0 Comments:
The RGS-IBG Postgraduate Geographical Club Award (£1000), the BSG Postgraduate Research Grant (up to £1000), the BCRA Cave Science and Technology Research Fund, and the Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant (up to £2000) will also be applied to.
Total shortfall: £5,914 Mean shortfall per person: £1,971

Referees and Report

Please give the names, addresses and phone numbers of two suitably qualified people whom the Committee can contact. You should ensure that they are aware of the objectives of your trip, and that you have their permission for the Committee to contact them.

Referee 1: Dr Tristram Irvine-Fynn
Affiliation: Aberystwyth University

Reason: Dr. Tristram Irvine-Fynn is the primary supervisor of the expedition leader and developed the research project in question. He has conducted research on Austre Broggerbreen previously, publishing work with Vatne on the morphology of the englacial drainage system and accompanied a preliminary trip for the project in 2016. He has worked with the expedition leader since 2014 throughout Masters and PhD supervision and, thus, is familiar with the expedition objectives and personnel.

Permission obtained?: Yes
Referee 2: Dr Tom Holt
Affiliation: Aberystwyth University

Reason: Dr. Tom Holt is the secondary supervisor of the expedition leader and has worked with her since 2014 throughout Masters and PhD study. Dr. Holt has also worked alongside the expedition leader on several field campaigns to the Swiss Alps in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: Jayne Kamintzis