2013-2014 Science Planning Summaries
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WISSARD Roving Drill

Program Manager:
Dr. Lisa Clough

Event Number: C-530-M

ASC POC/Implementer:
Jessica Jenkins / Matthew Kippenhan

Dr. Frank Rack (Principal Investigator)

University of Nebraska Lincoln
Department of Geosciences
Lincoln, Nebraska

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Subglacial Lake Whillans

Project Description:
The University of Nebraska Antarctic Drilling Project (ANDRILL) office’s roving drill will make possible the research goals defined in Projects B-259-M (Schmidt-SIMPLE) and B-174-M (Kim) by drilling into the McMurdo Ice Shelf at six locations to provide access for two remotely operated vehicles (ROV). The ROV work in 2014-15 will help define the location for ARTEMIS in 2015-16, the next generation ENDURANCE autonomous ROV (B-259-M Schmidt).

Field Season Overview:
Three drillers from University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) will deploy to McMurdo near station opening in mid-October to complete the build of the roving drill started last season under the WISSARD Borehole Drill Contractor project (C-524). The roving drill will then be loaded onto the WISSARD traverse to the Subglacial Lake Whillans (SLW) site leaving MCM in late November. Soon after the arrival of the traverse at the SLW site, these drillers (with the potential addition of a fourth driller depending on assessed personnel needs at that time) will fly to SLW and ready the roving drill for transport to the first pair of drill locations about 40 km away. WISSARD traverse personnel will transport the drill and its operators to the first drill location and drop it and the drill crew off to begin operations. To reach the second hole at this site, approximately 1 km from the first one, support from the CReSIS camp will be needed for towing/transport as the WISSARD traverse crew will be occupied with readying the main WISSARD drill for transport to the Grounding Zone (GZ). Once the holes and science are complete at the first site (Site A), the roving drill will be towed to the second site (Site B) either by CReSIS vehicles or WISSARD traverse vehicles, depending on when the Site A science is completed. Depending on the state of the respective roving drill and WISSARD schedules, the roving drill crew will either begin operations at Site B or go to GZ to help set up the WISSARD main drill. (Note that we are expecting to make use of two tractors from CReSIS once it closes, as well as the CReSIS mechanic/operator.) Once Site B science is done, the roving drill will be moved to the main GZ camp to drill to the bottom of the ice sheet to obtain basal ice cores. Once this is done the drill will be prepared for traverse back to McMurdo from GZ. The roving drill crew will also help winterize the main WISSARD drill and prepare any WISSARD drill components needing major servicing for traverse back to MCM; they will fly back to MCM with the bulk of the WISSARD team in late January.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Daren Blythe
  • Dennis Duling (Team Leader)
  • Dar Gibson

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