Andes 2016

B PLB 00301Thursday 11 February, the “On the Trail of the Glaciers – Andes 2016” expedition will set off for the “deep south” of the planet – the Tierra del Fuego and the Patagonian Andes. The team of photographers, filmmakers and researchers will spend over two months in this unspoilt region.

The expedition, organized thanks to the support of Enel Green Power, MC-link and Gitzo, aims to continue the photographic documentary work carried out in the three previous expeditions to Karakorum, the Caucases and Alaska.

Thanks to this new expedition, the archive established by Fabiano Ventura can be considered one of the most important sources documenting the world’s glaciers using the technique of comparative photography (repeat photography: the photographic comparison of historic and contemporary photographs taken from exactly the same spot to enable the precise superimposition of images).

3D models of the “Exploradores” glacier in Chile will be constructed by compiling images captured on the ground and by drones and satellites. This will increase our understanding of the effects of climate change on the phenomenon of glacial retreat. These state of the art techniques are being used for the first time by Italian researchers working in this field.

During the first 45 days of the expedition, photographer Fabiano Ventura will follow the tracks of the Italian Salesian priest, photographer and film maker, Alberto Maria De Agostini, replicating the striking photographs taken from 1910 to the mid 1950s, from exactly the same spot, at the same time of year. The aim is to study the changes that occurred over the past 60 years. Comparative photography techniques are at a stage where their power to communicate visualy make it possible to explain to global audiences the far-reaching effects of climate change that humanity is in the process of coming to terms with.

From mid-March the expedition, after having covered over 1000 km in the Patagonian regions of Chile and Argentina in search of the places where the archive shots were originally taken, will meet a team of engineers and geologists for the science-based part of the expedition. This will include testing new methods and techniques for the production of three-dimensional models of the glacier terminus, which form part of the “GlacioVar” project, backed by the Department of Regional Affairs (DARAS) of the Office of the Prime Minister of Italy, with the collaboration of the Geodesy and Geomatic sector of the Department of Civil, Constructional and Environmental Engineeering of “La Sapienza” University (Rome); the Ardito Desio Department of Earth Sciences of the “Statale” University of Milan; and the “Associazione Macromicro”, the promoter of the On the Trail of the Glaciers project as a whole.

The rearchers from “La Sapienza” and “Statale” universities will, in particular, focus on creating three-dimensional models of specific parts of the glacier terminus, measuring the surface speed, the rate of melting, and on describing the state of the surface of the glaciers (presence of detritus or black carbon, fine particles and dust that, by darkening the surface, can contribute to the speed at which glaciers are melting). All of the morphological, geometric, glaciological and dynamic data gathered will contribute to research into the evolution of Patagonian glaciers and will enable scientific models to be formulated to forecast variations in mass and volume of glaciers seasonally, and over longer lapses of time.

In terms of their application and methdology, the overall results of the GlacioVar project will be made available to the scientific community monitoring Italian glaciers through the annual glaciological readings coordinated by the Italian Glaciological Committee, and will also be referred to by the last two expeditions of the On the Trail of the Glaciers project, which will cover the Alpine glaciers.

During the expedition a film crew coordinated by the Italian film director Federico Santini will film footage for a documentary  that, apart from highlighting the team’s fieldwork, will also tell the extraordinary story of the Salesian explorer Father De Agostini and his wide-ranging travels by combining original photographs and films with footage shot during this expedition. The documentary will be shot on location in the Tierra del Fuego region and Patagonia, and will be an authentic journey into a territory renowned for exploration, offering stunning images of some of the most striking and wildest parts of South America.

The expedition has established a media partnerships with LIFEGATE, and has been backed by a number of institutions, including the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Argentina in Italy, and will visit the following glaciers and geographical areas:

  • The Torri del Paine National Park (Chile)
  • The Lago Argentino area (Argentina)
  • The Parco Nacional Los Glaciares (Argentina)
  • The Exploradores Glacier (Chile)
For live interviews during the expedition:
by satellite phone: 00870776757346
To follow the expedition in real time:

Press Office

Michela Mazzali

Cell. +39 348 2652565


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