2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Collaborative Research: Replicate coring at WAIS Divide to obtain additional samples at events of high scientific interest

Program Manager:
Dr. Julie Palais


ASC POC/Implementer:
Deborah Roth / Jessica Jenkins

Dr. Jeffrey Severinghaus (Principal Investigator)
http://waisdivide.unh.edu/External Non U.S. Government Site

Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Geosciences Research Division
La Jolla, California

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  WAIS Divide

Project Description:
WAIS Divide is a collaboration of about 40 separate but synergistic projects funded by NSF to collect deep ice cores from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Work began with construction of a field camp in 2005-06 and the first cores were recovered in 2006-07. On December 31, 2011 drillers reached the final depth goal of 3,405 meters, and recovered the longest U.S. ice core to date from the polar regions. Other deploying projects this year are the drilling contractor, IDDO T-350, and the Science Coordination Office (SCO, Kendrick Taylor) I-477. This associated project will acquire second and third ice cores from the borehole wall in order to replicate the main WAIS Divide ice core in areas of key scientific interest such as abrupt climate changes and volcanic sulfate horizons. These replicate cores will permit measurements that are currently impossible because of limited sample volume, and allow for validation of key scientific findings. Field activity will take place at the WAIS Divide ice core site using the established camp and support infrastructure, including a version of the DISC (Deep Ice Sheet Coring) drill with modifications for replicate coring.

Field Season Overview:
The 2011-12 field season was split between several different activities including replicate coring, borehole logging and deepening of the main borehole. This field season will be dedicated to replicate coring; no borehole logging or main borehole deepening will occur. Team members will deploy to McMurdo and then to the WAIS Divide camp. About 250 meters of replicate core is expected to be recovered and returned to the National Ice Core Lab.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Ross Beaudette
  • Jihong Cole-Dai (Co-PI)

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Curator: Ethan Norris, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Division of Polar Programs