2011-2012 Antarctic

Taylor Glacier Ice Coring

This project will develop a precise gas-based chronology for an archive of large-volume samples of the ancient atmosphere, which will enable ultra-trace gas measurements that are currently precluded by sample size limitations of ice cores. The project will provide a critical test of the "clathrate hypothesis" that methane clathrates contributed to the two abrupt atmospheric methane concentration increases during the last deglaciation 15,000 and 11,000 years ago. The project will use large volumes of ice to measure carbon-14 on past atmospheric methane across the abrupt events.

West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core

West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide is a United States deep ice coring project in West Antarctica funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The purpose of the WAIS Divide project is to collect a deep ice core covering approximately one glacial cycle from the ice divide in central West Antarctica. The WAIS Divide ice core will provide Antarctic records of environmental change for the last ~100,000 years with high time resolution and 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.

Geophysical Study of Ice Stream Stick-slip Dynamics

This project will use active source seismic methods to determine the physical conditions at the base of the Whillans Ice Stream. The science team will use a small hot water drill to create the shot holes needed for the seismic work. The hot water drill is being operated exclusively by the investigator and his field team, with IDP providing no contract driller support. For more information about the project, read Finding the sticky spot - Stagnating glacier offers array of puzzles for glaciologists to solve.

Badger-Eclipse Drill/Hand Auger Field Test

A Badger-Eclipse drill will be shipped to WAIS Divide for driller training purposes. The IDP crew will familiarize themselves with its operation as the schedule permits; this is a rare training opportunity for IDP staff and contract drillers to become familiar with the operation of an agile drill system. Several new components will also be tested, including a split ring collet and new cutters. IDP will also field test a newly-designed 3-inch hand auger at WAIS Divide to see how it performs in snow and firn. If time permits, the hand auger will also be field tested in sea ice at McMurdo Station and in ice at Taylor Glacier.