2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET)

Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET)


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Michael Jackson

ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Bija Sass

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ralph Harvey

Case Western Reserve University
Department of Geological Sciences
Cleveland, Ohio

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Elephant Moraine / Shackleton, Amundsen, and Devil's Glaciers / Mounts Cecily, Raymond, Wisting and Prestrud / Cumulus Hills / Nodtvedt Nunatak / Roberts Massif


The Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program is a field-based science project that recovers meteorite specimens from Antarctica. Since 1976, teams have recovered more than 21,000 specimens from surfaces along the Transantarctic Mountains. These specimens are a reliable, continuous source of new, non-microscopic extraterrestrial material and support thousands of scientists from around the globe as they seek essential “ground-truth” concerning the materials that make up the asteroids, planets, and other bodies of our solar system. The study of ANSMET meteorites has extended knowledge of the materials and conditions from which our solar system was born and has revealed the geologic nature of asteroids.

Field Season Overview

In the early season, a team to two will travel by Twin Otter aircraft to Elephant Moraine where they will camp in Scott tents for approximately ten days and make day trips by snowmobile to search for and recover meteorites. They will then return to McMurdo by Twin Otter. Later in the season, a team of eight, including two mountaineers, will travel by Basler or Twin Otter to Shackleton Glacier Camp. They will split into two teams to continue the search for meteorites at icefields in relatively close proximity to Shackleton, establishing tent camps at various sites for one to two weeks at each site, and making day trips by snowmobile. The teams will be self-sufficient at all of their sites but will move from site to site by Twin Otter. At the end of their site visits, both teams will return to Shackleton Camp for their return flights, by Basler, to McMurdo.

Deploying Team Members

  • Ralph Harvey (PI)
  • James Karner (Co-PI)
  • David Mittlefehldt
  • Brian Rougeux
  • John Schutt (Team Leader)