End of Season Field Reports

2007-2008 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 Gabrielle Dreyfus Anais Orsi
Trevor Popp Sylvia Englund Ursula Rick
Joe Souney Dave Ferris Inger Seierstad
Rebecca Anderson John Mischler David (Zach) Smith

Field Season Objectives:
1) Assist NICL with installation of core handling line (CHL) equipment. 2) Maintain highest quality of core throughout the CHL. 3) Winterize CHL equipment.

Assist NICL with Installation of Core Handling Line (CHL) Equipment:
Science Coordination Office (SCO) Field Manager Trevor Popp, along with the National Ice Core Laboratory's (NICL) Geoff Hargreaves and Brian Bencivengo, arrived at WAIS Divide on Friday, December 7 and began the installation of the CHL equipment. Four science technicians - Rebecca Anderson, David Ferris, Ursula Rick and Inger Seierstad - arrived on Monday, December 10 and assisted with the installation of the CHL equipment, the DEP, and the set-up of the warming Jamesway. Chief Scientist Ken Taylor and two more science technicians - Anais Orsi and Zach Smith - arrived on Monday, December 17. The remaining three science technicians - Gabrielle Dreyfus, Sylvia Englund and John Mischler - arrived to camp on Monday, December 24. SCO Operations Manager Joe Souney arrived to camp on January 17.

Modifications and fine-tuning of the CHL equipment continued until drilling with the DISC Drill commenced on January 4.

Several major storms, each of which shut down operations for two days, delayed getting the generators on-line and the arch construction completed.

Maintain highest quality of core throughout the CHL:
Full production coring began on Monday, January 7 with two shifts operating. A third shift was started on January 10 initiating 24 hour/day operations. Coring continued through January 20 with a total of approximately 466 meters being drilled giving a final bore hole depth of 580.58 meters. The core quality produced by the DISC Drill was excellent, although one core was rubble. Average drilled core length was 2.7 meters.

The objective of the CHL is to maintain the highest quality of ice core while logging it and preparing it for shipment back to the NICL in Denver, CO. Ice core temperature was always maintained below -15°C. This season's CHL also involved cutting samples for physical properties (see I-168-M End of Season Field Report) and measuring the electrical properties of the ice. Twenty-one 10-cm samples taken at 20-meter intervals from 120 meters to 520 meters were cut for physical properties. Electrical properties (DEP) were measured on all 466 meters of ice drilled this season. All ice drilled this season, except for the last three meters, has been shipped back to the NICL and will be worked on at this summer's core processing line.

Winterize CHL Equipment:
After drilling ended on January 20, the SCO and NICL crew winterized the CHL equipment to remain at camp, packed DNF cargo that will stay in McMurdo for the winter, and packed CHL equipment that were being sent back to the NICL for modification. All SCO personnel were out of WAIS Divide by Friday, January 25.

Many, many thanks to all those involved in the WAIS Divide activities this year especially, Matthew Kippenhan's planning management, Kevin Killilea and Elizabeth Morton's camp management, Brian Johnson's science support, Keith DePew and Sharon Lewis' cargo support, Julie Grundberg's (and Sharon Lewis') fixed wing support, and Eric Brown's construction management. Special thanks to the WAIS Divide camp staff and the arch facility construction staff for all of their help and support this season. This project would not be possible without the dedication and continual support of Julie Palais, Brian Stone and George Blaisdell, our sincere thanks to them.

Fig. 1: Group shot of the science technicians, NICL and SCO. Back row (L to R): Joe Souney, John Mischler, (Jay Johnson sneaking into the picture), and Dave Ferris. Middle row (L to R): Zach Smith, Brian Bencivengo, Gabrielle Dreyfus, Anais Orsi, Trevor Popp, Rebecca Anderson, Ursula Rick and Geoff Hargreaves. Front row (L to R): Sylvia Englund and Inger Seierstad. Credit: Brian Bencivengo