A multidisciplinary team of Chilean scientists left for Antarctic as part of an ambitious project to prove at some point in the history of the World, probably 200 million years ago, South America's Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula were landmass linked.
The project is headed by a researcher from the University of Chile, Teresa Torres and includes experts in palaeontology, geology, biology and environment, according to La Prensa Austral from Punta Arenas. "We are trying to collect evidence that shows how Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula, let us say some 200 million years ago were connected into one whole continental mass and for this we need to collect fossils, rocks and other possible pieces of evidence", said Dr. Torres. The project also included a first phase in Tierra del Fuego, where apparently the team found flora and fauna fossil evidence which they believe can be closely related to those of Seymour Island off the Antarctic Peninsula. "It's quite an ambitious project, very vast, something which has not been done before and is an essential piece for international palaeontology. But we also know it takes time and funds, so there will be no immediate results, positive or negative", added Dr. Torres. Another related project, also by a professor from the University of Chile, Dr. Millarca Valenzuela will be studying meteorites in the Antarctic continent, and not necessarily in the Peninsula. "We know that the Peninsula overall, is younger than the continent and this should help us determine those areas where evidence could be more easily detected. This somehow complements the continental mass project", said Dr. Valenzuela. Both projects are partly funded by the Chilean Antarctic Institute and Chile's Bicentenary Program (*) "Rings of Antarctic Research" which depends from the country main Science and Technology Development Research Office.