2010-2011 Field Season Review
AFTER A ~16-DAY WEATHER DELAY, RPSC opened WAIS Divide via a Basler on November 8 with a seven person put-in team. Thanks to Don Voigt's efforts in McMurdo we were able to get a skeleton crew of two drillers, Kristina Dahnert and Jim Koehler, into WAIS Divide earlier than planned, which turned out to be critical in helping us make up some of the lost days. These two drillers worked with the RPSC carpenter crew to assess damage sustained by the Arch over winter and begin repairs on the Arch structure and the drill slot.
The WAIS Divide Ice Core project completed major coring operations on January 28, 2011, after five years of work, reaching a target depth of 3,331 meters making the WAIS Divide ice core the deepest U.S. ice core ever drilled and the second deepest ice core ever collected.
—Credit: Jay Johnson; Date taken: January 28, 2011
Drilling operations resumed on December 16, only about a week behind schedule, at 2,566 meters depth. Throughout the season the DISC Drill routinely produced 20+ meters per day of perfect 3+ meter long cores. There were several instances during the season when there were potential season-ending problems with the DISC Drill, including a kinked cable. In each instance, however, the IDDO engineers and drillers were able to overcome the problems and keep us drilling with a minimal amount of drill "down time". Due to the delayed camp opening and challenges encountered with the drill, the drilling was extended through January 29th, five days later than originally planned. On January 28th the season's depth goal was reached at 3,331 meters (10,928 feet) - making the WAIS Divide Ice Core the deepest ice core ever drilled by the U.S. and the second deepest ice core ever drilled by any group.
Many people were part of the team that made this possible, and some of them really stepped up this field season. Nicolai Mortensen was at WAIS Divide a month longer than planned. At several times the success of the season depended solely on his brain and hands. Jay Johnson, Kristina Dahnert and Gifford Wong relentlessly pushed to get to the depth goal while keeping the crew in good spirits during stressful times. Paulene Roberts kept the camp running smoothly and well integrated with the coring operations. Julie Palais was our advocate in McMurdo and in Washington D.C., enabling the project to get more than its share of attention, including the season-saving five-day extension.
For more information about the season's activities, visit:
NICL Core Processing Line (CPL)
This summer's CPL began on June 1. We have just under 1400 meters of ice to process this year (1,955 - 3,331 meters depth) and hope to get through as much of this ice as possible with a CPL stop date of August 19. If we don't reach our 3,331-meter depth goal by August 19 we plan to process the remaining ice, along with the additional core we hope to collect this coming field season (see 2011-2012 Field Season below), during summer 2012. The NICL CPL is as important to the project as the drilling of the core itself and the Science Coordination Office Representative for this task is Peter Neff. Each week Peter will provide an update of the CPL's progress, which will be posted at:
2011 Science Meeting
The 2011 WAIS Divide Ice Core science meeting will be held on September 28-29 at the Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, CA. The meeting will have activities for all of both days and the evening of the 28th. Everyone associated with the project is encouraged to attend.
Also Tuesday, September 27 is reserved for the WAIS Divide Executive Committee meeting and other TBD "pre-meetings". If you have a "pre-meeting" that you would like to hold, please contact the WAIS Divide SCO ASAP so that we can work on accommodating your needs. As more details about the meeting are worked out they will be posted online at:
2011-2012 Field Season
The 2011-2012 field season at WAIS Divide will involve logging of the main borehole for temperature, optical, sonic, and seismic properties, possible deepening of the main borehole (and subsequent logging of the deepened hole), and testing of the new replicate coring capability of the DISC Drill. Don Voigt will be on site for the entire field season as the SCO Representative. Gary Clow will be onsite during the borehole logging as the Chief Scientist for Borehole Logging, and Jeff Severinghaus will be onsite during the drilling as the Chief Scientist for Replicate Coring.