The front of the drilling arch almost completely buried by snow
In the front of the galley at the official WAI S sign
Not much new to update on here at WAIS. I finished sampling my snow pit yesterday and am wrapping up my drill chip study as well. By next week, I should be done with both projects and be able to focus mostly on making bubble thin sections and core handling (& DEP running). We are now at a depth of about 830 meters and we are starting to notice that the ice is becoming extremely brittle now. Sometimes we don't even touch it, and pieces "pop" and break off. It is very tough to work with when it is so sensitive.
Tomorrow, the project's NSF representative, Julie, will be arriving on the next flight and checking in on our progress here. Julie is responsible for all of our funding...so everyone is getting a little nervous. If you do the math for the total cost of the project, it works out that every 1 meter ice core is valued at over 15 thousand dollars. That's pretty valuable ice.
Some of the drillers that went out as part of the CRESIS (Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets) group came back yesterday. This means that my 4 fellow Penn Staters (Don, Sridhar, Leo, and Huw) will also be coming back soon. For their project, that started here at WAIS, and drove out in snowcats and snowmobiles over 140 miles down the ice sheet towards the ocean to do seismic surveys on Thwaites Glacier. In a nutshell, they blow up a lot of explosives in the ice, and monitor the reflection and refraction of the seismic waves. This will help them to differentiate different density layers within the ice and to see the depth to bedrock. (within a few meters). There are looking to see if the current climate is causing the glacier to retreat (or advance). It will be nice to see some familiar faces and share stories when they get back.
Speaking of Penn State....3 days till the Rose Bowl! Woo Hoo!