Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Antarctic Airborne ElectroMagnetics - ANTAEM

Revealing Subsurface Water in Coastal Antarctica

ANTAEM aims to better understand subsurface structure and regional groundwater systems in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. By mapping the subsurface using electromagnetic methods, we are able to produce images of the subsurface electrical properties. These images provide powerful insight into hydrological connectively around the coastal margins, the depth/extent of permafrost, and subglacial hydrogeology – as well as an opportunity to investigate exotic ecosystems that exist in extreme cold/low-oxygen environments beneath glaciers.

ANTAEM consisted of two field campaigns – the first conducted in 2017 involved groundbased transient electromagnetic methods. This campaign imaged to greater depths than previously possible, while also serving as scouting measurements to guide later aerial surveys. In 2018 a follow-up airborne transient electromagnetic survey was conducted, where nearly 3500 kms of the subsurface was imaged. Preliminary results of the 2018 survey indicate the existence of subglacial unfrozen brines are present in far greater abundance and spatial coverage than previously anticipated.

ANTAEM is an international project involving partners from the University of California – Santa Cruz, Louisiana State University, University of Tennesee, Dartmouth College, and the University of Wisconsin.



  • University of California
  • Louisiana State University
  • The University of Tennessee
  • Dartmouth College
  • HGG, Department of Geoscience, Aarhus University