End of Season Field Reports

2005-2006 Field Season

Investigation of Climate, Ice Dynamics and Biology using a Deep Ice Core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Ice Divide (I-477)
NSF-OPP supported
PI: Ken Taylor (Desert Research Institute)

Field Team:

  • Kendrick Taylor
  • Mark Twickler
  • Lou Albershard
  • Beth Bergeron

Field Season Objectives:
1) Sample a snow pit at the main drill site before the area was effected by construction activities
2) Collect a 130 meter ice core with assistance of ICDS prior to beginning of arch construction

Season Overview:
We arrived at McMurdo on 4 November. WAIS Divide put-in was scheduled for 24 October, but was delayed until 14 November due to poor weather and issues associated with landing LC-130s at a new location. Due to the difficulties associated with the LC-130s, a twin otter was used to transport Ken and Mark to the camp on November 20. We sampled a 3 m snow pit for chemistry and isotopes (5 cm sampling interval), density and stratigraphy. The sample pit was then converted to a 2 meter backlit pit. Ken and Mark departed WAIS Divide on 21 November.

After the completion of the drilling for Sowers et al., Lou, Beth and Jay Kyne collected a 130 meter ice core next to the arch facility. While ideally this would have been collected prior to arch construction we are grateful to the ICDS crew for drilling, logging, packaging, and shipping the core. ICDS departed WAIS Divide on 12 January.

Extreme gratitude to all those involved in the WAIS Divide activities this year especially, Matthew Kippenhan's planning management, Dave Zastrow's camp management, Andy Young's science support, Billy Texter's construction management, and multitudes of others too numerous to list. This project would not be possible without the dedication and continual support of Julie Palais and Brian Stone, our sincere thanks to them.

Fig. 1: Ken Taylor cutting snow blocks in a snowpit at WAIS Divide. Photo: Mark Twickler

Fig. 2: The backlit snowpit. Bright sections on right are 50cm intervals. The snowpit is at the exact location where the deep ice core will be drilled. The snowpit was sampled for chemistry, isotopes, density, and stratigraphy to 3 meters. Photo: Kendrick Taylor