Field and CPL Updates

2011 Core Processing Line

July 15, 2011
Update provided by Peter Neff
project update image
"Old Faithful" Radar Reflector. Top Panel shows "Old Faithful" tracked between Byrd and WAIS Divide (Conway et al., 2005; Neumann, et al., 2008). "Old Faithful" is a persistent bright radar reflector that has been tracked over much of West Antarctica (Jacobel and Welch, 2005), though is notably absent at Siple Dome. Bottom Panel shows DC-ECM comparison between WAIS Divide (blue, top) and Byrd (black, bottom, from Hammer et al., 1997). The magnitude has been scaled for visual comparison and the WAIS Divide depth stretched to match Byrd. "Old Faithful" dates to ~17.5 kyr and ~200 years are shown in the figure. The increase in conductivity is likely related to increased volcanism and acid deposition but the source of the acids is not yet known. Only faint cloudy layers were visible in the Byrd and the WAIS Divide cores. The observed depth of "Old Faithful" (2422-2427 m) is very similar to that determined from radar measurements (2427 m). For reference, radar measurements indicate ice thickness is ~3470 m.

The CPL is up and running after a short break, and we have quickly gotten back up to speed. After a slow first two days back, we managed 150 meters for the week - the coveted "perfect week" and definitely our most productive week yet (ending at 2,680 meters depth)! This brings us just past the halfway mark of the 2011 WAIS Divide CPL; halfway through the ~1400 meters of ice, and halfway through the 10 weeks allotted for processing. Many thanks to all those in the lab and elsewhere who have helped us stay on schedule.

With no visiting PIs this week, TJ Fudge and I updated everyone on our icy projects out of the University of Washington. TJ explained some early thoughts about depth-age relationships and ice sheet histories for the WAIS Divide core, while I may have surprised everyone by talking about an ice core from Mt. Waddington, British Columbia, Canada.

We have a new "science tidbit" this week courtesy of TJ Fudge, but we may be stretching the definition of tidbit. In any case, we suspected a few weeks ago that the electrical conductivity measurements made here at NICL hit ice related to the "Old Faithful" radar layer, and TJ has plotted preliminary data that makes a strong case in favor of this idea. It has been gratifying for everyone here to see this information coming from the electrical conductivity measurements, as we watch the readout for every meter run through the CPL.

Thanks for all of your interest and support.

Peter Neff
WAIS Divide SCO Representative, 2011 CPL