U.S. ice scientists travel to Antarctica, Greenland, and mountain ranges around the world to conduct fieldwork in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. Below you can find information about current and upcoming fieldwork as well as completed fieldwork.


Current and Upcoming Fieldwork

2019 Arctic

Greenland: Quantifying Heat/Mass Structure and Fluxes through the Full Thickness of Greenland's Percolation Zone

The goal of the project is to quantify the structure, thermal state, and heat fluxes through the full thickness of the firn column across a transect spanning western Greenland's percolation zone. The project will achieve these objectives by drilling a combination of shallow and deep cores/boreholes at a series of sites between Swiss Camp and Crawford Point. Deep (up to 100 meters) boreholes will be drilled using hot water methods via with a drill that is being developed by the investigators. These deep boreholes will be augmented with a number of shallow cores to quantify density and provide access for temperature logging of the shallow firn thickness. The shallow cores will be drilled with a IDP Hand Auger and Sidewinder.

Greenland: Refreezing in the Firn of the Greenland Ice Sheet

This project will collect several shallow firn cores from the southwestern sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet to investigate the stratigraphy, density, temperature and liquid water content of the firn cover and investigate spatial and temporal variations (the latter by comparing to previous cores from the literature in some of the sites). The aim of the project is to better understand how the surface meltwater generated in the summer makes its way from its location on the ice sheet to the ocean. Two competing but not mutually exclusive theories are 1) the meltwater percolates into the ice sheet pores and is stored for a relatively long time. 2) The initial infiltrating meltwater refreezes at shallow depth in the firm, forming a hard pan that prohibits further infiltration. The project will test these two hypotheses through a combination of field work, remote sensing from satellites, and modeling.

Alaska: Electrothermal Drill Testing with the Juneau Icefield Research Program

The Electrothermal Drill, aka the "e;Thermal drill"e;, is a mechanical ice coring drill, based on the 4-Inch Drill but with the addition of an electrically heated ring that enables coring in temperate ice that is close to the pressure melting point. Several system upgrades are being implemented for the drill, including a new 300 m cable, new heat rings, a thermal limiting/over-temperature regulation device and a new magnetic tool to assist with removal of cores from the barrel. In July 2019, IDP will conduct a three-week field test of the system in Alaska in conjunction with other Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) activities and established logistics. Following the field test, IDP will inspect and repair the Electrothermal Drill equipment and make any necessary modifications.