Polskie badania geologiczne Arktyki i Antarktyki

Krzysztof Birkenmajer



The history of the Polish geological investigations in the Arctic region goes back to pioneer expeditions to Arctic Siberia organized during the XIXth century by Polish political exiles A. Czekanowski and A. Czerski, victims of tzarist suppression of Polish national resistance. In Antarctica, it was H. Arctowski, member and scientific leader of the Belgian 1897-99 expedition in „Belgica", who as the first geologist systematically surveyed the continent. After Poland regained its independence in 1918, the Polish Polar research, including geology, could for the first time be conducted on national basis, starting with the IInd Polar Year (1932-3) expedition to Bear Island (Bjornoya), Svalbard archipelago.
The Polish geological research centred on Spitsbergen (Svalbard archipelago ), starting with an expedition to Torell Land in 1934 (59). It continued during the IIIrd International Geophysical Year (1957-1958) and International Geophysical Co-operation (1959-1960) expeditions, and up to the present time (9, 26), thanks to a multi-disciplinary scientific effort of the Polish Academy of Sciences who established a scientific station at Hornsund, south Spitsbergen.
Some Polish geologists took also part in Norwegian expeditions to Svalbard (1962-1970) and in Danish expeditions to East Greenland (1971, 1976), moreover geological work was also carried on Jan Mayen (1970) and during a Polish West Greenland expedition (1937) to Arfersiorfik - Fig. 1.
The scope of geological research included geological mapping, stratigraphy, tectonics, sedimentology, palaeontology, ore-mineralogy, Quaternary geology, palaeomagnetism, etc. (see 1-70) aimed at regional syntheses (10, 16, 19, 27) - Figs 2-10.
Polish geological investigations of Antarctica started on national basis with the expeditions organized to the Dobrowolski Station (Bunger Hills, East Antarctica), in 1959 (95), and to the Arctowski Station (King George Island, South Shetland Islands, West Antarctica) - since 1977 (Fig. 11). Both stations have been operating under a research scheme sponsored by the Polish Academy of Sciences.
The area of South Shetland Islands became a major target of multi-disciplinary Earth sciences research, including geological mapping, stratigraphy, tectonics, volcanology, geochemistry, Quaternary geology, palaeontology, ore-mineralogy, sedimentology, applied geophysics, etc. (71 -94, 96-100). The South Shetland island arc offers a good opportunity for model studies and testing of global tectonics theory (88, 89), and for reconstruction of palaeoclimatic history of Antarctica (74, 80, 82, 84, 86) during the Cenozoic (Figs 12-19).

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