For 353 days, Yngve Kristoffersen and Audun Tholfsen drifted 1450 km with the hovercraft ”Sabvabaa” through the central Arctic Ocean, crossing the Lomonosov Ridge as many as five times.
That provided the two researchers, both of them representatives of the Nansen Center (NERSC), with a unique opportunity to collect seismic data from the area. When returning to Norway on 22 August, Kristoffersen and Tholfsen brought with them 1000 km of excellent seismic data about the Lomonosov Ridge, the 3000 meter high submarine mountain chain.
A major portion of the coverage relates to areas of the ridge not hitherto accessed by icebreaker surveys, the researchers say on their project website.
The expedition, named the FRAM-2014/15, was completed only few days after Russia submitted its Actic claims to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. That claim includes both the Lomonosov and Medeleev ridges, as well as area beyond the North Pole point. Russia has over the last years engaged in comprehensive research on the Arctic seabed with the help of icebreakers and other vessels.
The FRAM-2014/15 expedition started on 30th August 2014 with the deployment of the ”Sabvabaa” on a 1,1 meter tick and 2 square kilometres large ice floe about 280 kilometers from the North Pole. The sea ice drift station subsequently drifted towards the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Svalbard. The expedition is the first Norwegian ice drift in the Arctic Ocean since Fridtjof Nansen´s drift with the vessel ”Fram” 118 years ago.
Both the Norwegian and Danish air forces have supplied the expedition with additional equipment during three airdrop operations the winter.