Monday, January 31, 2011

The Success of WAIS Divide, Antarctica

Well...I made it back to McMurdo safe and sound.  It was an incredibly long and trying season this year. The drillers faced multiple issues and it seemed we were doomed from the beginning. usual, they had a few tricks up their collective sleeves.  Just when it looked like the season might end early, they pulled out some magic and we were drilling again.  After over two weeks of straight drilling with no off-days, and a 5 day season extension, we pulled up a core from a depth of 3330 meters.  This marked the longest US core ever drilled, the 2nd longest ice core ever drilled (2nd only to Vostok), and the completion of the goal we all had set at the beginning of the season.  This ice contains information from over 100,000 years ago that is very valuable to many scientists.  We had amazing ash layers this season, bizarre folding in the cores, and increasingly warmer temps in the ice.

There's really not much more to say right now.  I'm tired.  I am looking very forward to getting home this year.  I will be in NZ for only a short time as I have more important obligations back home.  I will try to put together a better synopsis in a few days, but I am really just glad everything was a success.

Here are a couple of plots the Drillers put together for this season and for the entire project.  I was a part of every drilling season except the very first - 07/08 (although my Masters thesis was based on data from the first).

1 comment:

Eliza Ralph-Murphy said...

What a historic and monumental achievement for the whole team. Great that you were part of all but the first season. So you guys pretty much dug down as far as you could go without hitting rock? Why then is there only 100,000 years of ice accumulation? Just wondering: )