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Enabling clean access into Subglacial Lake Whillans: development and use of the WISSARD hot water drill system
Authors: Rack FR
Year: 2016
Keywords: clean hot water drill system, subglacial aquatic environments, clean access, environmental stewardship, West Antarctica, WISSARD project
Periodical/Journal: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A
Volume: 374
Abstract:

Clean hot water drill systems (CHWDSs) are used with clean access protocols for the exploration of subglacial lakes and other subglacial aquatic environments (e.g. ice-shelf cavities) in Antarctica. A CHWDS developed for the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project by the Science Management Office at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL-SMO), USA, was specifically designed for use in West Antarctica, where the US Antarctic Program's South Pole Traverse could assist with logistical support. The initial goal was to provide clean access holes through ice up to 1000???m thick following environmental stewardship guidelines; however, the existing design allows this CHWDS to be used for ice thicknesses up to 2000???m following modifications to accommodate longer hose lengths. In January 2013, the WISSARD CHWDS successfully provided for the first time a clean access borehole through 800???m of ice into Subglacial Lake Whillans beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet for the deployment of scientific instruments and sampling tools. The development and initial use of the WISSARD CHWDS required the project team to address a number of constraints while providing contingencies to meet the defined project scope, schedule and budget.

DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2014.0305
URL: View document