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Back on The Ice


In the News

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/space_20/2014/12/antarctica_lake_whillans_drilling_project_life_could_exist_on_europa_and.single.html


FAA jet inspecting the ice runway.

FAA jet inspecting the ice runway.

Mt Erebus

Mt Erebus

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Hiking up to Arrival Heights

Hiking up to Arrival Heights

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Seal Pup

Seal Pup

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We finally got our Generator back today and have power.

We finally got our Generator back today and have power.

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Digging out drill camp.  We have finally gotten a break in the weather (rumor has it that there is another storm due in tonight at midnight).

Digging out drill camp. We have finally gotten a break in the weather (rumor has it that there is another storm due in tonight at midnight).

The wood dump.  Another place we occasionally go dumpster diving.

The wood dump. Another place we occasionally go dumpster diving.

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I walked home with this cardboard robot from the Halloween party...His name is Awesome-O (its a South Park robot)

I walked home with this cardboard robot from the Halloween party…His name is Awesome-O (its a South Park robot)

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McMurdo's fleet of snowmobiles

McMurdo’s fleet of snowmobiles

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This is either a mass spectrometer or a time machine.  Either way its pretty impressive.  Also noteworthy; its made in Massachusetts.

This is either a mass spectrometer or a time machine. Either way its pretty impressive. Also noteworthy; its made in Massachusetts.

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Trans Antarctic Mountains

Trans Antarctic Mountains

"Highway 1"-also the hallway to the galley

“Highway 1”-also the hallway to the galley

I hang my coat on the same hook everyday.  There are usually a lot more coats than this in the coat room.

I hang my coat on the same hook everyday. There are usually a lot more coats than this in the coat room.

Stairs up to the galley

Stairs up to the galley

I wash my hands in one of these two about 90 times per month to keep from getting the "crud" (sickness).

I wash my hands in one of these two about 90 times per month to keep from getting the “crud” (sickness).


Fighting the Weather

 

 

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We have had unseasonably poor weather, even for Antarctica this year.  Since the 18th we haven’t had good enough weather to do much more than shovel out all of our drifted equipment.  Above is a picture in town in Condition 1 weather.

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Drifts covering our drill sled.

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Even more drifts to shovel

Even more drifts to shovel

More drifts to shovel

More drifts to shovel

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Inside the Arctic Oven

Inside the Arctic Oven

Towing our truck back to town.

Towing our truck back to town.

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Bye Portland.

Bye Portland.

LA.  Yuck.

LA. Yuck.

Looking into the engine of the C-17 in New Zealand.

Looking into the engine of the C-17 in New Zealand.

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This is surely the most critical piece of cargo on the flight.  Its a pallet full of Juicy Juice.  Thats right.  Juice boxes.  Apparently this is going out to the WISSARD camp later in the season.  Juice boxes are real popular on the Ice for some reason.

C-17 from McChord AFB out of Fort Lewis, WA.  I think I actually saw this plane at the Portland Airport at the beginning of my trip South.

C-17 from McChord AFB out of Fort Lewis, WA. I think I actually saw this plane at the Portland Airport at the beginning of my trip South.

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The cavernous interior of the C-17.

On Ice.

On Ice.

Observation Hill

Observation Hill.  There is a webcam at the top that updates every few seconds here:

http://www.usap.gov/videoclipsandmaps/mcmwebcam.cfm

This is pretty neat!

This is pretty neat!

Nice to see some motorcycles on station.  Check out the Pugsley someone brought all the way down.  Pretty neat.

Nice to see some motorcycles on station.

Somebody brought down their Pugsley.  That's really neat.

Somebody brought down their Pugsley. That’s really neat.

The "Gerbil Gym".  I've been running in here since the roads are pretty sketchy with Ice these days.

The “Gerbil Gym”. I’ve been running in here since the roads are pretty sketchy with Ice these days.  The strange (but awesome) entrance to the gym is shown below.  What a time to be alive!

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This is what an Antarctic Winter will do to equipment left outside.  These are our high pressure pump sleds that were covered with tarps.  Snow finds its way through regardless of the tiniest of holes.

This is what an Antarctic Winter will do to equipment left outside. These are our high pressure pump sleds that were covered with tarps. Snow finds its way through regardless of the tiniest of holes.

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We have just begun to get our equipment set up out on the sea ice.  In the upcoming days we will be digging out everything, setting up a shelter to work out of and preparing the drill for the SIMPLE project (more on that later).


Akademiklly Challenged…and some birds

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

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(C. Carpenter)

(C. Carpenter)

Antarctic Starfish (C. Carpenter)

Antarctic Starfish (C. Carpenter)

Roll Cage Mary (C. Carpenter)

Roll Cage Mary (C. Carpenter)

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Antarctic Beach

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Adelie Coming up onto the beach

Adelie Coming up onto the beach

Seal 30 feet offshore

Seal 30 feet offshore

Crusty

Crusty

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Open water in McMurdo Sound

Open water in McMurdo Sound

MV Akademik in McMurdo Sound

MV Akademik in McMurdo Sound…The boat that was stuck in the ice back in December


Transantarctics (credit Chad Carpenter)

Transantarctics (credit Chad Carpenter)

Sundog (Credit Chad Carpenter)

Sundog (Credit Chad Carpenter)

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Credit Chad Carpenter


Dennis at the melt tank awaiting a fresh push of snow

Dennis at the melt tank awaiting a fresh push of snow

Panoraminc view of camp (credit Chad Carpenter)

Panoraminc view of camp (credit Chad Carpenter)

Drill head

Drill head

Drill Wide

Thumbs down

Thumbs down

Melt tank over looking tent city

Melt tank over looking tent city

Main hose reel and control building

Main hose reel and control building

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Melting a hole for the outhouse

Melting a hole for the outhouse

Pump Sleds and heaters

Pump Sleds and heaters

Daren and Graham digging

Daren and Graham digging

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Science Tent City

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The Shigloo

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Birdman One and Birdman Two

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Oil Fired Burners

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Borehole Instrumentation Deployment

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2014 sites

 

Heres a quick summary of what our field season looked like:

1/13/14

Flew from McMurdo to Cresis camp on a Herc.  Camped one night at Cresis in an Arctic Oven.

1/14/14

Traversed from Cresis to site 1A (about 18 miles) and setup camp

1/15-17

Drill setup, drilled hole 1A to 680 meters, packed drill to move to site 2

1/18-19

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.

1/20-21

Took a shower outside and we packed camp and the drill for the 12 hour traverse to site 2A (the third borehole)

1/22-23

Setup camp and drill, drilled third hole

1/24-26

Packed camp and drill and traversed to the fourth and final hole. Completed 4th hole.

1/27-28

Winterize drill

1/29

Basler flight back to McMurdo

 

Now Ill post some fun pictures because looking at pictures is way more fun  than reading.

 

 

 

 

 


Surprise! I’m back on the Ice

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:

http://www.wissard.org

https://www.facebook.com/pages/WISSARD-Whillans-Ice-Stream-Subglacial-Access-Research-Drilling-Project/322629720135

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.

http://discovermagazine.com/2013/julyaug/15-first-life-found-in-ancient-lake-miles-below-antarctica#.Usx4cvRDtBZ

http://discovermagazine.com/2014/jan-feb/12-the-search-for-life-trapped-under-ice#.Usx8MPRDtBY

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.


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