Land Rover, in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), have announced the winner of the 2015 annual bursary.
The ‘Trail by Fire’ expedition were named as the winners and are the recipients of the £30,000 bursary which will fund their expedition through the South American Andes to study volcanic gases in the region. In the largest expedition of its kind the research will improve the understanding of how volcanic gas emissions contribute to the Earth’s atmosphere.
As part of the bursary the expedition team of volcanologists will also have the use of a specially modified Land Rover Defender throughout their 2,5000 mile journey.
Team leader, Yves Moussallam said, “We are overwhelmed that Land Rover and the Royal Geographical Society have chosen our project as the winning expedition for this year’s bursary. The funding and the loan of the Defender make this project possible and we can’t wait to get started.”
The expedition vehicle has been specially modified by Land Rover’s SVO team at its Oxford Road facility in the UK. Modifications to the Defender have seen it become the world’s first mobile volcano observatory. Key modifications include the installation of a Delta Ray spectrometer, an uprated power supply, a synthetic winch, increased security, LED lighting and a side deployable tent for overnight accommodation.
The journey will take the team the entire length of the Nazca tectonic plate which runs from Peru to the southern tip of Chile. 'Throughout the journey the team will have to negotiate unpredictable terrain which includes high elevations and lack of established routes to the summit of volcanoes.'
The researchers, from some of the world’s leading universities, participated in extensive training at the home of Land Rover Experience in Eastnor, UK under the guidance of expert instructors to ensure they will be able to cope with the challenging conditions they will encounter.
Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Experience Marketing Director said, “Our partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is important to us as part of our commitment to a contribution to research, education and fieldwork expeditions. This year’s recipients truly embody the ‘Above and Beyond’ ethos which lies at the heart of the Land Rover brand and we are excited to see what findings come out of this research.”
More information about the journey can be found by following their expedition on their website (www.trailbyfire.org) and through social media (www.facebook.com/trailbyfire.volcanoes and www.twitter.com/trailbyfire).