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One-meter long sections of ice cores at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide field camp, waiting to be packed for shipment to the United States. The WAIS Divide project in central West Antarctica is collecting a deep ice core covering approximately one glacial cycle. This ice core will provide Antarctic records of environmental change for the last ~100,000 years with high time resolution
Jay Johnson, driller for Ice Coring and Drilling Services, talks with a Raytheon employee at the Onset D field camp (West Antarctica), while the drill operates in the background. The drillers work ahead of scientists, who follow with explosives to conduct seismic research. The scientists are using seismic studies to profile the streambed and learn why the ice moves faster than the ice around it.
Drilling an ice core at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide field camp. WAIS Divide is a United States deep ice coring project in West Antarctica funded by the National Science Foundation. Providing Antarctic records of environmental change for the last ~100,000 years with high time resolution, the WAIS Divide will be the first Southern Hemisphere climate record of comparable time resolution and duration to the Greenland GISP2, GRIP, North GRIP, and NEEM ice cores.
At the South Pole Remote Science Observatory (SPRESO) Camp, located five miles from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, drillers for Ice Coring and Drilling Services clean ice out of the shaft while reaming a hole to fit seismic instruments. The holes are filled with seismometers, as part of a Global Seismographic Network of 126 stations. These multiple sensors measure the motion of the ground over very long period changes. Measuring the waves from the quakes running through the Earth helps researchers understand the Earth’s interior.
The 5-cm (2-inch) Drill in use during the 2001-2002 expedition of the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition. The 5-cm Drill is much smaller and lighter than the Badger-Eclipse Drill. The maximum depth to which this model of drill has cored is 42 meters. Core diameter is 51 mm.
The Kamb-Engelhardt Hot Water Drill has been used to drill holes approximately 100 mm in diameter to depths of 1200 meters. This drill is also known as the CalTechDrill. It has been used primarily to study processes at the base of West Antarctic ice streams and interstream ridges. The Kamb-Engelhardt Drill also has a down-hole attachment that allows coring.
Image of a portable hot-water drill. The hot water drills are primarily used to produce shot holes and shallow access holes.
Image of David Silverstone (University of Alaska) collecting an ice core with a PICO hand auger.
Tom Neumann (University of Vermont) uses a hand auger to retrieve a shallow ice core during the Norwegian-U.S. Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica.
Jay Kyne using the Sidewinder to help retrieve the drill string of a PICO Hand Auger in Greenland.
A United States Antarctic Program participant drills into the ice to measure the snow/ice compaction at Pegasus White Ice Runway, located 18 miles (29 km) from McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
Historical image of the SIPRE hand auger.
Jim Butler (NOAA) and Tony Wendricks (ICDS) using the 10-cm (4-inch) Drill during a firn air sampling project at the South Pole.
Beth Bergeron and Mike Jayred use the 4-Inch Drill at WAIS Divide to collect a 300-meter deep ice core during the 2006-2007 field season.
Lou Albershardt using the Badger-Eclipse Drill to recover ice core.
Photo of the 5-cm (2-inch) Drill during the 2001-2002 expedition of the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition. The 5-cm Drill is much smaller and lighter than the Badger-Eclipse Drill.
The Amundsen Basin Seismic Project studies ice sheet history and dynamics on the Thwaites Glacier and Pine Island Glacier in the Amundsen Sea sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The project uses a combination of GPS, ice coring, radar, and seismic sensing to document conditions at the base of the WAIS.
Photo of Tanner Kuhl operating the Koci Drill in Beacon Valley, East Antarctica. A small team of earth scientists and engineers used the Koci Drill to reach buried ice deposits in Beacon Valley. Buried ice deposits represent a new and potentially far-reaching archive of Earth's atmosphere and climate. The ice being drilled is estimated to be several million years in age.
A view of the Koci Drill in Beacon Valley, East Antarctica. A small team of earth scientists and engineers used the Koci Drill to reach buried ice deposits in Beacon Valley. Buried ice deposits represent a new and potentially far-reaching archive of Earth's atmosphere and climate. The ice being drilled is estimated to be several million years in age.
Jay Kyne prepares to start drilling near Mount Erebus, Antarctica. Mount Erebus is the southernmost active volcano on Earth and the most active in Antarctica. In 2008-09, scientists from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology undertook a major seismic experiment to image the conduit that feeds molten magma to the lava lake in the crater of Mount Erebus.
Lou Albershardt operates the Badger-Eclipse drill during the Norwegian-U.S. Traverse of East Antarctica. The project is investigating climate change in East Antarctica, with the goals of understanding climate variability in Dronning Maud Land of East Antarctica on time scales of years to centuries and determining the surface and net mass balance of the ice sheet in this sector to understand its impact on sea level.
Scientists prepare to sample firn air at the South Pole. The goal of the project is to measure methane and other trace gases in fir air collected at South Pole, Antarctica to see how the levels of these gases have changed over the last ~100 years.
View of the Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) Drill with an ice core. The U.S research community is using the DISC Drill to conduct a deep ice coring project in West Antarctica for studies of climate, ice sheet history and cryobiology. This project, called WAIS Divide, is collecting a deep ice core from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) ice flow divide and integrating approximately 20 separate but synergistic projects to analyze the ice and interpret the records.
Leigh Stearns mapping the Allan Hills Blue Ice Area in February 2004. The Allan Hills Blue Ice Area project is a United States blue ice coring and trenching project in East Antarctica sponsored by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that relatively inexpensive trenching for collection of samples of ice as old as 2.5-2.8 million years is possible at the site located one hour by airplane from U.S. McMurdo Station.
A scientist pushes an ice core out of the drill at NEEM. The goal of the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) project is to retrieve ice from the last interglacial episode known as the Eemian Period that ended about 120,000 years ago.
Construction of the DISC drill for the WAIS Divide ice core project in Madison, Wisconsin. It's the most advanced drill of its kind in existence, according to the engineers with the Ice Drilling Design and Operations group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Siple Coast ice streams in West Antarctica. Red areas are fast-moving central ice streams. Blue areas show slower tributaries feeding the ice streams. Green areas depict slow-moving, stable areas. B is Whillans Ice Stream and C is Kamb Ice Stream.
New to the IDDO drill inventory is the Blue Ice Drill, an agile drill capable of retrieving cores of approximately 9 ½ inch diameter to depths up to 15 meters in solid ice. The drill, which was developed for the University of California at San Diego, is transportable by light aircraft or helicopter and was used to collect samples of "blue ice" on Taylor Glacier during the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 Antarctic field seasons.
New to the IDDO drill inventory is the Blue Ice Drill, an agile drill capable of retrieving cores of approximately 9 ½ inch diameter to depths up to 15 meters in solid ice. The drill, developed for the University of California at San Diego, was used with great success to collect samples of "blue ice" on Taylor Glacier during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 Antarctic field seasons.
IDDO driller Elizabeth Morton assists with borehole logging operations at WAIS Divide during the 2011-12 field season. Fore more information about the WAIS Divide Ice Core Project, visit: http://waisdivide.unh.edu
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