Awarded by the Royal Geographical Society, in partnership with the Institute of British Geographers, this year’s Land Rover Bursary has been granted to the ‘Trial by Fire’ expedition. Besides the use of a highly modified Defender 110, the team will also receive £30,000 of funding towards their volcanic investigation.
The six international volcanologists will be undertaking the first large scale investigation of volcanic gas emissions along the entire 2500 mile duration of the Nazca tectonic plate - running from Peru to the southern tip of Chile.
The modified Land Rover Defender will function not just as the group's work horse, but also as the world’s first 4x4 mobile volcano observatory. Housing a suite of cutting edge instruments, including a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the expedition aims to improve our understanding of the effect volcanic gas emissions have on the Earth’s atmosphere.
Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) modified the Defender, with notable modifications including an uprated power supply, a winch, upgraded security, LED lighting, anti-vibration mounted housing for special equipment and a side deployable tent for accommodation.
Participating in extensive training at Land Rover’s Eastnor Castle Estate, under the guidance of expert instructors, the researchers have been taught to cope with the harsh conditions and terrain awaiting them on the trip.
'We are overwhelmed that Land Rover and Royal Geographical Society have chosen our project as the winning expedition for this year's bursary', said Yves Moussallam, team leader.
'The funding and loan of the Defender make this project possible and we can't wait to get started. There is no doubt that this is an ambitious project but we hope to reveal some ground breaking findings and have an extraordinary adventure along the way.'
Mark Cameron, Jaguar Land Rover Experimental Marketing Director, commented: 'As we mark the final year of production for the Defender, this is the perfect expedition to showcase the model's contribution to research'.