Monthly Archives: January 2014
Heres a quick summary of what our field season looked like:
Flew from McMurdo to Cresis camp on a Herc. Camped one night at Cresis in an Arctic Oven.
Traversed from Cresis to site 1A (about 18 miles) and setup camp
Drill setup, drilled hole 1A to 680 meters, packed drill to move to site 2
Moved to site 1B. I had worked the night shift and went to bed sometime in the early morning hours. When I woke up I was the only person left at camp so I packed my tent and hitched a ride on a snow mobile to the new site 1 km away. We then drilled the second hole to 680 M.
Took a shower outside and we packed camp and the drill for the 12 hour traverse to site 2A (the third borehole)
Setup camp and drill, drilled third hole
Packed camp and drill and traversed to the fourth and final hole. Completed 4th hole.
Basler flight back to McMurdo
Now Ill post some fun pictures because looking at pictures is way more fun than reading.
Lets rewind back to January 13th where we last left off. Over the next few days while waiting for my northbound flight to New Zealand Ill try to piece together each part of the field season. Since we work long, irregular hours its easy to forget what day it is and even what you did the previous day. This season I tried to keep track of when I went to sleep each day and what hours I worked. The only other activity other than sleeping and working in the field is eating, which accounts for any other time not logged in my timekeeping efforts.
January 13th we left McMurdo for our Herc flight to Cresis.
Always either sleeping, eating or working. Here, I’m sleeping.
We spent one night at the Cresis field camp before traversing to our first borehole location. Heres some info on the Cresis science:
After we got to Cresis we helped our camp staff organize and pack food for the next couple weeks of drilling. Graham and I offered to help secure this cargo being dragged around camp behind a snow machine.
We camped one night at Cresis and started the short traverse to the first borehole. We rode inside one of the buildings called a rac tent.
More to come. This afternoon’s entertainment….Ice Breaker Tour.
The goal for this years field season is to deploy geophysics instrumentation at 4 locations in the Whillans Ice Stream. The drill team will be melting holes at locations 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B. The drill crew and scientists are scheduled to fly into Cresis camp (located next to the Wissard ski runway) by Herc (LC-130) tomorrow morning. The Cresis camp is located next to the skiway and we will be camping there for 1-2 nights. During that time we’ll have a chance to access the WISSARD drill camp this is about 7 miles away for a last minute tool and equipment run by snowmobile. The following day we will ride with the traverse (kind of like a polar convoy) to the first drilling site (1A). Once the 800 meter holes at site 1 have been finished we will traverse over to site 2 and melt two holes there.
We will be camping in un-insulated mountain tents this year so hopefully the weather is nice to us.
If everything goes according to plan, we will be pulled out by a single Basler flight on 1/30 and return to McMurdo. I should have some great pictures to post when we return. Until then, I won’t have any access to internet so I won’t be posting anything until then. See you in February…..as long as our flight gets out tomorrow!
The Wissard Facebook page and Wissard.org should have some field updates and possibly some pics while we are in the field.
We took a hike out to Castle Rock this afternoon which is part of McMurdo’s trail system. Its about an 8 mile round trip walk and a darn good time. We walked in under heavy fog but were able to climb above it once on the rock which is about 200 feet tall. The views from the top show the top of the fog layer we hiked in on the way out.
I’ve got a long story to tell so Ill try to make it short and just get to some fun pictures. I was originally planning on (as was the rest of the WISSARD project) an early winter deployment to the ice this year. As a result of the government shutdown the scope of this years work was significantly reduced as well as the required personel. Instead of going to the grounding zone with the big WISSARD drill this year it was decided to deploy a small crew and use the mobile drill developed at UNL to drill 2 sites 50-100 miles from Lake Whillans and deply geophysics instrumentation in Ice Stream B.
I was originally not going to deploy but Dar Gibson (hot water driller) was unfortunately injured and flown back to New Zealand. I was asked to come down and replace him for the field season and was very fortunate to be in a position to do so (with many thanks to my employer, Davis Tool, Inc.).
Im currently in McMurdo and am scheduled to go out to the field camp 1/13. In the meantime, Ill be posting pics about the trip south and try to touch on what it is that we are doing this year and some of the technology that is part of this years field season. Pictures from the field won’t be posted until Im back in Mactown because we have limited communications from the field. In the meantime, as secondary resources to this blog, there are two sites that are regularly posting a lot a good information and updates on this years field season:
Last years work at Lake Whillans was a huge success and we plan on delivering this season as well. Discovery magazine ranked the Wissard project as the #12 out 100 top science stories of 2013.
We will be flying out to the same location as last years WISSARD camp on a C-130 and snowmobiling out to this years field camps from there.
More details and pictures to follow. I’m off to a cold weather survival training refresher and to help out with some instrumentation mods for the afternoon.