2020-2021 Science Planning Summaries
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2020-2021 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Operation and maintenance of a CTBT class infrasound array at Windless Bight

Operation and maintenance of a CTBT class infrasound array at Windless Bight
T-396-M Research Location(s): Windless Bight


Event Number:
NSF / DTRA Agreement

Program Manager:
Dr. Michael Jackson

ASC POC/Implementer:
John Rand / Elizabeth Kauffman

Principal Investigator(s)

Mr. Jay Gregory Helmericks
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Geophysical Institute
Fairbanks, Alaska


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Windless Bight


This project operates, maintains, upgrades, calibrates, and services the joint U.S. Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) infrasound array at Windless Bight. Windless Bight's location on the Ross Ice Shelf is unique for its low wind levels, which makes infrasound detection possible. Infrasound can detect volcanic eruptions, winds over distant mountain ranges, large storms at sea, auroral and meteor events, earthquakes, and avalanches, as well as human-caused events, like large explosions, at great distances from the sound-producing events. Detection of events occurring worldwide are routinely made at the Windless Bight site.

Field Season Overview

This project's equipment runs continuously year-round, essentially autonomously, with only limited intervention required by personnel onsite and the researchers via the internet. The site does however requires annual servicing. Due to COVID-19 pandemic impacts, only two participants will deploy to perform this work during the 2020-21 season. The logistical support contractor will provide the usual, though reduced in scale, field camp and operational equipment assistance, as well as additional labor support to dig up and raise the project's equipment. Delivery of fuel and survey support will also be provided. An onsite Research Associate will provide monitoring, troubleshooting, and the collection and forwarding of data as needed throughout the year.

Deploying Team Members

  • Jessie Crain
  • Jay Helmericks (PI)