The main objectives of the geophysics observatory at Neumayer-Station III (NM-III) focus on seismology and geomagnetics. Additionally, in collaboration with the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources  (Bundesanstalt fuer Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe, BGR, Hanover) we operate the infrasound array I27DE, which is part of the global monitoring system of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). For geodetic purposes and special studies of physical processes in the high atmosphere continuous GPS measurements are also performed. An all-sky camera is currently in a testing stage and should image the night sky when polar lights are visible.

The observatory is located 1.5 km south of the station and consists of a non-magnetic container inside a deep firn cavern. Both seismographic and geomagnetic recordings are made here in a single observatory for the first time. Two seismographic broadband stations are operated on more remote sites on the ridges of Halvfarryggen and Söråsen ice rises. Here the ice is laying on solid rock, so both locations show superior recording quality compared to the observatory site on the floating Ekström ice shelf and enable real high quality broadband  recording. Additionally, station “Watzmann” on Halvfarryggen is also the location of a short period detection array. It comprises 15 vertical seismometers with the broad band station in the center. At station Olymp on the Söråsen ice rise another 3-component broadband seismometer is installed. Both stations are powered by solar and wind energy.

That small local seismographic network will supplement with other seismic broad band stations in western Dronning Maud Land. Including other seismic stations like Sanae, Troll, Belgrano, the South Pole station or even some more seismic stations at the Antarctic Pacific coast we establish a virtual regional array for a more detailed monitoring of seismic activities in Antarctica. Data of the local seimographic network at NM-III is continuously transferred ("live") to AWI in Bremerhaven and further on to the National Data Center at the GFZ Potsdam (GEOFON). All recordings are archived there and can be retrieved by anyone on demand. Manually picked onset times of all detected local and global earthquakes are sent on a daily schedule to the International Seismological Center (ISC) and the National Earth quake Information Center (NEIC).

Variations of the geomagnetic field are continuously recorded at a sample rate of 1 second. We operate two 3-component Flux-Gate systems which are orientated slightly different. For total intensity readings we use an Overhauser Proton-Precession-Magnetometer which can take readings every second.  Hourly calibrated mean values of the recordings are reported to the World Data Center WDC-1 in Edinbourgh every year. Adjusted FGE minute means are calculated at the geomagnetic observatory in Niemegk (GFZ Potsdam) and from there reported to the INTERMAGNET data center. Plots for any days of interest can be made there and data can be downloaded by anyone.


Dr. Alfons Eckstaller

Dr. Tanja Fromm

Jölund Asseng

Geophysical observations in Dronning Maud Land