ORONO, Maine — A University of Maine professor has died while conducting research in Antarctica.

The university says 50-year old Gordon Hamilton died Saturday when the snowmobile he was riding hit a crevasse and he fell 100 feet. He had been in Antarctica doing research for the National Science Foundation. His work focused on the role of ice and glaciers in the climate system.

Hamilton began working at the University of Maine's Climate Change Institute in 2000. He served as an assistant research professor, taught undergraduate and graduate courses and worked with a statewide initiative on science, technology, engineering and math programs for high school students.

UMaine provost Jeffery Hecker released a statement calling Hamilton a "quintessential scientist and educator" and a "pioneer researcher" who touched and changed many lives.