2017-2018 Science Planning Summaries
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2017-2018 USAP Field Season
Staffed Field Camps

A total of six field camps will have resident staff to provide logistical and operational assistance to McMurdo and vessel-based researchers.

Scientist Aneliya Sakaeva Collects Samples in the Dry Valleys

Dry Valleys

50 Nautical Miles From McMurdo Station

77.6°S, 162.9°E (Lake Hoare Camp)

Each year, McMurdo Long Term Ecological Research (MCM LTER) grantees and other groups conduct research in the Dry Valleys while based at the semi-permanent facilities located in the Taylor Valley. Two resident staff, based at Lake Hoare Camp, support these science operations. They also oversee camps at Lake Fryxell, F6, Lake Bonney, and New Harbor (although New Harbor will not be open in 2017-18), and a small temporary camp at Lake Miers (located farther south in the Dry Valleys) for LTER. This year, science teams B-320-M (Schmidt), G-167-M (Blackburn), and C-516-M (Tulaczyk) will be based out of the Taylor Valley camps along with the MCM LTER groups. T-295-M (Pettit - UNAVCO (University NAVSTAR Consortium)) will also provide 1-2 participants to support the MCM LTER. One artist/writer grantee, W-480-M (Neri), may also coordinate a short stay at one of the camps.

Siple Dome

507 Nautical Miles From McMurdo Station

81.4°S, 149°W

This camp serves as a fueling point for aircraft operating between McMurdo Station and West Antarctica or South Pole. Two resident staff will provide daily weather observations and maintain the camp. Siple Dome will also house and feed Kenn Borek Air (KBA) crews as needed. This season, the team will support the science operations of G-079-M (Wilson - POLENET (The Polar Earth Observing Network)).

Portable Shelters at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Field Camp

WAIS Divide Field Camp

891 Nautical Miles From McMurdo Station

79.5°S, 112°W

The WAIS Divide field camp with six resident staff will support G-079-M (Wilson - POLENET) and O-283-M (Lazarra) and their Twin Otter missions from the site. Camp staff will also assist in the recovery of field gear that was cached at Pirrit Hills by I-277-M (Stone) late in the 2016-17 season; they will also help to recover the remaining sensor equipment of the A-357-M (Zesta) magnetometer buried in the snow near WAIS camp.

Shackleton Camp

459 Nautical Miles From McMurdo Station

85.1°S, 175.4°W

Now in the third and final season of Shackleton camp, a staff of 12 will support seven science groups working in the surrounding Transantarctic Mountains and one science group accessing the Whillans Ice Plain. This year, McMurdo will deploy two Bell 212 helicopters from PHI and Twin Otter aircraft from Kenn Borek Air to Shackleton in order to support the work. The science groups include B-458-M (Adams), G-192-M (Putkonen), G-058-M (Harvey - ANSMET), G-180-M (Thomson), G-135-M (Taylor), I-186-M (Stone), G-096-M (Sidor), and C-533-M (Priscu).

Moore Embayment lies between Shults Peninsula and Minna Bluff


47 Nautical Miles From McMurdo Station

78.4°S, 166.4°E

After an unsuccessful attempt to test their drill in the 2016-17 season, the Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID) project will attempt another test this season on the south side of Minna Bluff.

A traverse team of six will utilize four science tractors to haul the RAID containers and fuel from McMurdo along a route proven during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. Two drillers from D-552-M/DOSECC (Drilling, Observation and Sampling of the Earth’s Continental Crust) will travel with the traverse to be on site right away. Soon after arrival, two tractors and three traverse staff will return to McMurdo in order to support SALSA staging operations (see below), and two camp staff will arrive by helicopter to establish the camp with the remaining traverse staff, followed shortly by the remaining drillers. The camp will support a population near 20, with science operations led by D-551-M (RAID) co-PIs John Goodge and Jeff Severinghaus. Science operations will end in late December. Camp and traverse staff will break down the camp, and shuttle back and forth to return all containers and equipment to McMurdo.

SALSA Staging

~600 Nautical Miles From McMurdo Station

84.4°S, 149.3°E (SLM)

The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) project is an integrative study involving 12 principal investigators led by Chief Scientist John Priscu. In preparation for SALSA drilling operations in 2018-19, this season a team will establish a traverse route to Subglacial Lake Mercer (SLM) and stage containers and drilling equipment at the proposed SLM site. After assisting with the RAID traverse, a traverse team of three will utilize the remaining three science tractors to haul containers from McMurdo to Camp 20 on the South Pole Traverse trail near the foot of the Leverett glacier. From there, they will rendezvous with two other team members and a science outreach participant. They will temporarily stage some of the containers and then establish the route to SLM. Once the team has shuttled all containers to SLM, they will berm everything for winter-over storage and construct a ski-way. Upon returning to Camp 20, they will then proceed to the nearby Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) Grounding Zone site where they will deconstruct the ACT ski-way and transport any remaining materials and equipment to Camp 20. There they will create a new ski-way before returning to McMurdo.