2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA): Integrated study of carbon cycling in hydrologically active subglacial environments: Drilling Component
Dr. John Priscu
Project Web Site:
Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) project will use a clean access hot water drill to penetrate into Subglacial Lake Mercer (SLM), one of the largest and most dynamic subglacial lakes on the Whillans Ice Plain. The lake is hydraulically active with water replacement times on the order of a decade. The team will collect samples of basal ice, sediments, and lake water to explain how relict organic matter deposited during marine incursions influences contemporary biodiversity and carbon cycling and to provide new information on past climatic conditions.
Field Season Overview
Several members of the drill team (McManis, T-524-M) will assist ASC staff with preparations and loading of equipment to the launch and recovery system (LARS) deck, including the Submersible Capable of under Ice Navigation and Imaging (SCINI) winch, prior to the traverse departure. Upon establishing the SALSA field camp at SLM, science personnel and drillers will fly to the camp by mid December to open laboratories, set up drilling equipment, and coordinate the start of the hot water drilling operations. The remaining science team members will arrive several days later to begin sampling SLM once the borehole is completed. Science personnel will collect and prepare ice, water, and sediment samples for shipment to the United States. Outreach personnel will film and photograph all aspects of the SALSA season. Borehole operations will continue into early January until camp close out begins.
Deploying Team Members