Field and CPL Updates

2011 Core Processing Line

June 17, 2011
Update provided by Peter Neff
project update image
Dr. Jeff Severinghaus (UCSD, Scripps Inst. Oceanography) talking about noble gases in air bubbles within the ice. Photo: Peter Neff

We've wrapped up our second full week of the 2011 CPL and are now at a depth of 2249 meters. We are at an average of 27.5 meters of ice processed daily. Ken McGwire (DRI) and TJ Fudge's (UW) latest age update from electrical conductivity measurements places us approximately 13,137 years before present at a depth of 2100 meters.

It's been a week of fiddling, as we encountered some significant shortcomings in several of our systems. Over the weekend, a plugged drainage hole in the freezer unit above the electrical conductivity station caused about a pint of water to be dumped from above. This made for some serious de-icing Monday morning, and we were lucky the water did not touch any of the electronics. The issue was resolved and we have instated a new weekly check of the offending freezer unit. We are also shopping for a new beach umbrella as a secondary safety. Continuing our case of "the Mondays", we also had an imaging slowdown and some database confusion that affected our productivity for the day.

Issues with all of the aforementioned systems continued through midweek, as we lost the camera that scans each core (it is now in California for quick repairs) and battled a noisy signal on the electrical conductivity measurements. We have momentarily replaced the scanning camera with a handheld SLR camera, and are trying to help TJ Fudge cope with his electrical conductivity nightmares.

Jeff Severinghaus (UCSD, SIO) picked us up at the end of the week with another science talk, explaining some of his work with noble gases in air bubbles within the ice. It continues to be a pleasure to see our NICL staff and students learning about WAIS Divide science while interacting with the ice every day! I've yet to inform the group that there will be a final exam at the end of the CPL.

Despite the difficulties this week, we managed our first 32-meter day on Thursday! 30+ meter days like this are not standard practice, but are welcome every so often to help us reach the deepest WAIS Divide ice by mid-August!

Stay tuned for ash layers, beginning next week.


Peter Neff
WAIS Divide SCO Representative, 2011 CPL