Field and CPL Updates

2006-2007 Antarctica

December 14, 2006
Update provided by Matthew Kippenhan, RPSC
project update image
The 2006-2007 arch construction crew. Photo: Raytheon Polar Services

Field Camp:

  • LC -130 missions to date: 15 out of 24
  • Equipment is running well, small issues with tractors that have required several parts re-supply from CAT and Tucker
  • Several 2+ day storms buried camp requiring 2 days of digging out and grooming after each storm to be back up at 100%
  • Camp staff has started building winter snow berms required for winter over storage. Staff is using winter over snow drifts and storm deposits to minimize pushing snow for berms to save fuel and minimize workload on the CAT 953 tracked loader. Small amounts of camp cargo will be able to winter over in the arch, however, this will be the first winter over of the entire camp outside and should be interesting to see in October 2007
  • Shortage of Air Force pallets will impact camp's ability to efficiently and safely winter over cargo. A new top pallet is being tested and other methods of storing cargo will be required without AF pallets
  • LC-130 ACL has fluctuated between the planned 18,500 lbs. up to 25,000 lbs. NYANG aircrews have complimented the camp staff on their quality skiway
  • Drill fluid will be pre-staged on site as ACL allows at end of the field season

Arch Facility:

  • Construction crew has completed the following on or ahead of schedule: core storage basement excavation, core processing floor, transition wall, drilling floor footers and flooring (excavation and final floor details to occur after casing is complete), side egress arch
  • Some mechanical and electrical materials will not arrive on schedule this season and will require some adjustment to this season's schedule
  • Delays are due to a longer than anticipated procurement process and lead times. The majority of items currently at Port Hueneme will be Commercial Surface shipped to CHCH as planned to minimize Commercial Air costs.
  • Electrical and mechanical work that is not completed this season will roll over to next season (that schedule will be developed after we know the final impacts)
  • ICDS is currently casing the main bore hole and installing the two gantries as scheduled
  • RPSC videographer was present to film the coring of the pilot hole for project documentation. All RPSC videos are in HD
  • WAIS Divide electrician, electrician helper, and sheet metal foreman have been helping with other projects, including ones at the South Pole Station, during times of material delays. They have contributed significantly to these other work activities and have been greatly appreciated by many.
  • Arch facility drawings continue to be developed per NSF requirements for engineering approvals

Overall, the labor intensive work will be completed this season as scheduled. The arch crew is working hard to complete as much as possible and is planning on a very busy January. Billy Texter and I will create a detailed punch list and next season's schedule to be integrated with the DISC drill and core processing installment.

Vessel Cargo:

The following items were purchased for a vessel 2007 delivery to McMurdo. These items were purchased with FY07 funding.

  • Final 141-b drilling fluid (total to date 10,000 gallons)
  • Third purchase of Isopar K (total to date 15,000 gallons)
  • Second 2-pallet cargo sled
  • Qty. 200 ISC boxes w/ 4 core tubes each
  • Core processing materials and equipment
  • Miscellaneous camp and arch materials

Power Module:

  • Preliminary discussions with the NSF and RSA engineers have been conducted
  • Several generators have been identified as potential contenders
  • NSF recommends a single generator module for camp and arch facility
  • RPSC has started the preliminary design for generator structures
  • Final generator sizing has not been made at this time
  • Power will be boosted and sent to arch facility from a main camp location


  • RPSC EH&S and the NSF have determined to make amendments to the IEE at a later date once all changes have been identified (including other funded science projects not related to the deep core)

Project Safey Plan:

  • ICDS is leading this effort and is greatly appreciated by us at RPSC
  • Preliminary safety and training plans are being developed by ICDS, RPSC, and NICL
  • Once a general draft is developed, other stakeholders will become involved to further develop the plan for the camp and drilling operations
  • Second Chillguard air monitor will be purchased as a backup to the primary and to allow for additional monitoring locations