2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA): Integrated study of carbon cycling in hydrologically active subglacial environments

SALSA traverse heading to SLM from McMurdo Station. Photo by: Billy Collins, Montana State University
C-533-M Research Location(s): Whillans Ice Plain / Subglacial Lake Mercer


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1543537

Program Manager:
Dr. Jennifer Burns

ASC POC/Implementer:
Judy Shiple / Dean Einerson / Matthew Kippenhan

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. John Priscu
Montana State University Bozeman
Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
Bozeman, Montana

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Whillans Ice Plain / Subglacial Lake Mercer


This project is the surface geophysics component of the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) project and has been underway for two years. The project's long-term GPS array on the Whillans Ice Plain comprises eight stations that capture subglacial lake activity and the resulting ice dynamics. The long-term array will be supplemented this season by temporary GPS experiments and collection of kinematic GPS data in order to examine important interfaces such as the shoreline of a subglacial lake.

Field Season Overview

One researcher and a mountaineer will deploy to McMurdo Station and join another two-participant team, working on the Whillans electromagnetic (EM) project (Fricker, I-353-M). The combined four-person field team will travel by LC-130 aircraft to the Whillans Ice Plain operating for eight weeks as an unsupported "roving" field camp, conducting EM surveys (I-353-M) and performing maintenance on GPS stations. The team will follow the SALSA traverse route to Subglacial Lake Mercer (SLM), servicing the remaining five GPS stations along the way. At SLM, two participants will remain at SALSA camp to conduct a four-day GPS experiment and deploy a fiber-optic cable down the SALSA borehole for year-long continuous temperature measurements.

Deploying Team Members

  • Matthew Siegfried (Team Leader)