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
Integrative study of marine ice sheet stability and subglacial life habitats - Robotic Access to Grounding-zones for Exploration and Science (RAGES)

Program Manager:
Dr. Lisa Clough


ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Brian Johnson

Dr. Ross Powell (Principal Investigator)
http://www.wissard.orgExternal Non U.S. Government Site

Northern Illinois University
Department of Geology & Envir. Geosciences
DeKalb, Illinois

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Sublacial Lake Whillans

Project Description:
The WISSARD project is composed of three interrelated sets of grants: LISSARD (Tulaczyk C-521), RAGES (Powell C-522) and GBASE (Priscu C-523). These projects are connected scientifically through common interest in coupled fluxes of ice, nutrients and water, subglacial sediments, and by the common need to characterize and quantify physical, chemical, and biological processes operating subglacially. The research will focus on the lower portion of Whillans Ice Stream, where two hydrologically connected subglacial environments that lie in close geographical proximity can be accessed: Subglacial Lake Whillans and wet subglacial sediments, including the grounding-zone wedge. The RAGES component will investigate the sedimentary record for evidence of past changes in the ice sheet, subglacial environment, and ocean influences.

Field Season Overview:
This year the WISSARD field season consists of a build phase from Winfly through mid-December, a test phase at the old ANDRILL MIS site (mid-December), a traverse phase through early January, a field phase at Whillans Ice Plain and SLW-Deep (Subglacial Lake Whillans) through early February, and a return traverse through end of February.

Seven RAGES participants will deploy in mid-October to prepare equipment and instruments for testing at the ANDRILL-MIS site near McMurdo. The team will redeploy during the traverse and initial camp setup at the Subglacial Lake Whillans field site, then return to McMurdo and deploy to the field by fixed wing during drilling and sampling in January.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Timothy Hodson
  • Michael LeBaron
  • David Monk
  • Ross Powell (PI)
  • Reed Scherer (Co-PI)
  • Betty Trummel

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