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
ELF/VLF observation of whistler-mode waves, lightning discharge, and gamma-ray events from Palmer Station

Program Manager:
Dr. Vladimir Papitashvili


ASC POC/Implementer:
Samina Ouda / Philip Spindler

Dr. John T Gill (Principal Investigator)
Project LinkExternal Non U.S. Government Site

Stanford University
Electrical Engineering
Stanford, California

Supporting Stations:  Palmer Station
Research Locations:  IMS Building

Project Description:
Whistler-mode waves play a major role in controlling the dynamic evolution of relativistic electron populations in the Earth's radiation belts. They regularly penetrate the ionosphere and can be detected at ground-based stations. Because of its remoteness from anthropogenic electromagnetic noise sources, Palmer Station remains one of the most electromagnetically quiet ELF/VLF receiving sites in the world, allowing researchers to take full advantage of this extremely sensitive receiver system. The system records broadband data (full waveform data sampled at 100 kHz) as well as narrowband data (the demodulated amplitude and phase of narrowband VLF transmitter signals) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The scientific investigations involving these data are focused on magnetospherically generated whistler-mode waves; global lightning and thunderstorm activity; the characteristics of lightning discharges associated with terrestrial gamma ray flashes; and the ionospheric effects of gamma ray

Field Season Overview:
The system comprises two magnetic crossed loop antennas (each 81 m^2), a preamplifier, and a PC-based digitization system. The receiver operates in the range from 30 Hz to 50 kHz with 96 dB of dynamic range (16?bit resolution) and is capable of measuring signals on the order of a femtotesla. One participant will deploy to Palmer Station to perform annual maintenance and calibration of the VLF antenna and receiver. One section of the data signal cable will be replaced to prevent moisture and water seepage. The day-to-day maintenance and monitoring of the electronics will be performed by the contract Research Associate (RA).

Deploying Team Members:

  • Forrest Foust

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Office of Polar Programs