End of Season Field Reports

2010-2011 Field Season

Physical Properties of the WAIS Divide Deep Core (I-168-M)
NSF-OPP supported
PIs: Richard Alley (Pennsylvania State University) and Kurt Cuffey (University of California-Berkeley)

Field Team:
John Fegyveresi

Season Objectives:
To monitor the physical properties of the WDC06A core, document any obvious changes or deformation, record additional site information from observing snow pits and photographing surface evolution, deploy various temperature monitors, and record insolation data.

Season Note:
John Fegyveresi deployed on November 18th as a member of the I-477 ice-core science tech group. Work that was done related to I-168 was done as a second priority to this project and was accomplished during non-working hours and drill down-time.

Field Season Overview:
John Fegyveresi deployed to Antarctica on schedule, and first prepared cargo in McMurdo for project I-477. During this time, John also prepared various science equipment for monitoring temperature and insolation data at WAIS Divide. Following several days in McMurdo, he arrived at WAIS Divide on December 1st. For the first two weeks there, he worked as a part of the I-477 crew palletizing and preparing ice cores from the 09-10 season for shipment. After shift, over several days, John dug a 2-meter backlit snowpit and sampled it for density and water isotopes. This pit was also extensively photographed in order to capture the stratigraphy. In addition to this pit, John set up several temperature sensors around the camp at various depths in the surface and covered with various solar shields. This was done in order to capture an accurate account of near-surface summer firn temperatures at WAIS Divide. John also installed a custom-made insolation monitoring station that consisted of a long-wave net radiometer and two short-wave pyranometers. This was left recording for the entire season so that the data could be combined with those from the on-site automatic weather station in order to conduct a proper net energy balance survey for WAIS Divide. Lastly, John observed and documented various surface crusting, glazing, cracking, and frosting events over the 2 month long season. After primary ice-core drilling began on Dec 16th, John also monitored and documented any obvious changes in physical properties in the ice cores or if any deformation was observed.

Fig. 1: Digging a snow pit for the study of physical properties. Photo: John Fegyveresi.

Fig. 2: Net radiometer and double-pyranometer setup. Photo: John Fegyveresi.

Fig. 3: Pointing at an obvious thick crust in the snow pit backlit wall Photo: John Fegyveresi.

Fig. 4: Distinct ash layer in the WDC06A core. Photo: John Fegyveresi.

Fig. 5: A patchy/splotchy ash layer. Photo: John Fegyveresi.

Fig. 6: A possibly folded ash layer – this gave us evidence that deformation was starting to become a factor in the core. However, no evidence of large disruptions were observed. Photo: John Fegyveresi.