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Brit scientist dies in 100ft Antarctic crevasse plunge; Climate team in snowmobile horror.

Byline: CHRISTOPHER BUCKTIN US Editor

A BRITISH climate scientist has been killed in Antarctica after his snowmobile plunged 100ft into a crevasse.

Dr Gordon Hamilton, 50, was part of a team camped in a heavily crevassed area known as the Shear Zone, 25 miles south of McMurdo Station, the largest of three US research centres in Antarctica.

His body was recovered after the tragedy on Saturday, and the US Antarctic Program has launched an investigation.

Dundee-born Dr Hamilton had been a University of Maine professor since 2005 and was studying glaciers and their impact on sea levels.

The Shear Zone is three miles wide and 125 miles long. Its ice is hundreds of feet thick, but perilous due to the number of fractures.

Dr Hamilton, who had degrees from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Cambridge, had worked for several years mapping the area around the McMurdo Station and identifying the crevasses to be repaired so that vehicles could haul supplies from the coast.

Paul Mayewski, director of the University of Maine's Climate Change Institute, said: "They were repeating an activity that they'd done many times before, but it's a dangerous area and accidents happen. That's exactly what this was."

In a statement, university president Susan Hunter said Dr Hamilton's glaciology research was "second to none".

She said: "He leaves a legacy as an outstanding scientist."

The National Science Foundation, which was funding Dr Hamilton's research, is arranging the return of his body to his family in Maine.

Kelly Falkner, director of the foundation's polar programmes, said: "The death of one of our colleagues is a tragic reminder of the risks we ace in field research."

chris.bucktin@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

RESEARCH His work was "outstanding"

DANGER ZONE Dr Hamilton at work among the crevasses

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 27, 2016
Words:299
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