Following a two-year pandemic-driven postponement of field projects supported by IDP, IDP started deploying people in early November. Challenges with the UTMB PQ process, logistics limitations, and a two-week pause in flights to McMurdo Station required the shuffling of personnel as well as planning with PIs for a reduced scope of fieldwork. Despite many challenges, IDP deployed two engineers to WAIS Divide Camp to support the C-442 GHOST project (PI Sridhar Anandakrishnan). While the team was unable to travel to Thwaites Glacier in the time allowed, IDP Engineers Jay Johnson and Chris Rush were able to assemble the IDP Rapid Air Movement (RAM) 2 Drill after the system had unexpectedly been cold soaking at WAIS Divide since the start of the pandemic. The system functioned well, and 23 holes were drilled for the placement and detonation of seismic charges by the GHOST science team.
At Allan Hills, IDP Drillers Elizabeth Morton and Mike Jayred operated the IDP Foro 400 Drill and the Blue Ice Drill (BID) for PI John Higgins and science field team leader Sarah Shackleton (I-165-M). The BID collected large diameter cores in one borehole to a depth of 92 m. The Foro 400 Drill was used to re-enter a borehole initially drilled during the 2019-2020 season to 135 m. After many days of challenging drilling, green basal ice near the bed was collected at a depth of 205 m.
IDP Engineer Elliot Moravec and IDP Driller/University of Maine Research Assistant Professor Dom Winski deployed to the Hudson Mountains of West Antarctica to complete the second season of a two-season field effort initiated prior to the pandemic. The C-443 GHC team (PI Ryan Venturelli) traveled to Antarctica via Punta Arenas, Chile, and Rothera Station in a project jointly supported by the U.S. Antarctic Program and the British Antarctic Survey. Unfortunately, season operations were plagued by flight delays, moisture in the Eclipse Drill motor sections from being unexpectedly cold-soaked in Antarctica for two seasons due to COVID, and encountering surprise crevasses resulting in temporary work stoppages for safety evaluations. The drillers were ultimately able to drill one borehole through clean ice and dirty ice layers, but a thick frozen clay layer near the bottom of the hole prevented the collection of subglacial rock core with the Winkie Drill.