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Bolivia : a scientific expedition on an Andean tropical glacier
15 February 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira

13 days and 12 nights camping at 6340m on the Illimani to study past climatic changes

In 1991, the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD) started a study program around tropical glaciers (GREAT ICE), in collaboration with the Laboratory of Glaciology in Grenoble (LGGE). Several PhD theses proved their unprecedented retreat. My own, which lasted from February 2001 until October 2004, was entitled "Study of the depositional and post-depositional phenomenoms affecting andean snow on a high tropical glacier (Illimani - Bolivia - 6340m) in order to interpret an ice core." The objective was to decipher the climatic message recorded in the chemical composition of the snow, to be able to reconstitute past climatic variations in the region.
During these three years, I’ve had the opportunity to organise four field expeditions to the summit of Illimani in order to take meteorological measurements, snow samples etc., at times in extreme conditions: very high altitude, cold, wind... The longest stay at 6340m lasted 13 days, from the 3d to the 16th of May 2002.

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