A German research vessel, Sonne part of the expedition to resolve the
mystery around separation of India and Sri Lanka from Antartica continent
nearly 116 million years ago arrived at Colombo port last week.
Having completed its expedition around Australia, the German research
Vessel among the biggest of its kind, arrived at the Colombo harbour to start
its expedition in Sri Lankan waters according to Sri Lankan media reports.
The expedition was aimed at solving the mystery around the separation of
India and Sri Lanka from Antarctica more than 116 million years ago, which once
made up one giant supercontinent.
The expedition is part of the research project INGON, which investigates the
mechanisms and processes in the Earth’s mantle that are active during the
breakup of continents, the formation of ocean basins and the drift of tectonic
The project is planned and implemented in cooperation between the Alfred
Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)
Bremerhaven and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel.
Besides a wide range of scientific gadgets, the ship carried 31 crewmembers
and 26 scientists on-board throughout this expedition. The team also comprised
of seven participants from Sri Lanka, two participants from the United Kingdom,
and one participant each from Japan, France, and Austria.
After almost a whole month together on board, the ship finally returned to
Colombo harbor on 17th August. Despite occasional disturbances by the weather
or whales that bravely approached the ship, the research could be conducted as
planned and the team returned with a large amount of data that will be
evaluated in the coming weeks. Mr. Geissler, the head of the German research
team said: "I am optimistic that the collected data will give a lot of new
insights, which will be made available to the public and shared with our Sri
The "Sonne" is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education
and Research with the aim of finding answers to questions that are of global
relevance. The original "Sonne" has been sailing in the Pacific and
Indian Ocean for 37 years before it was replaced in 2014 with a new ship, which
was given the same name. With its modern equipment and the black, red and
golden band around its hulk the "Sonne" is a brand ambassador of the
internationally recognized German marine research.