2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Ice dynamics at the intersection of the West and East Antarctic Ice Sheets
Dr. Knut A Christianson
Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station, South Pole Station
Researchers will use ground-based, ice-penetrating radar to survey the stratigraphy and bed topography at Hercules Dome and infer changes in ice dynamics and ice-sheet elevation. The work will help determine past ice-sheet changes that may relate to the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Additionally, the work may verify the existence of a divide flow and internal stratigraphy that could help determine whether this site is suitable for a deep ice-core drilling project. This year's focus will be on taking repeat englacial velocity measurements with phase-sensitive ice-penetrating radar, and measuring surface velocities with GPS sensors.
Field Season Overview
Four participants will deploy to McMurdo Station, then on to South Pole Station in early-to-mid November. After acclimatizing, a groom team will deploy via Twin Otter to the camp site at Hercules Dome West (HDW). After skiway grooming and cache raising, the group will set up their field camp and reside there for 4-5 weeks. Operating in teams of two or more, participants will drive snowmobiles towing radar equipment along transects to perform radar and kinematic GPS surveys. They will use deep sounding radar, shallow sounding radar, and phase sensitive radar. They plan to drive approximately 25 miles of transects per day, and up to 500 miles over the season. All work will be done within approximately 30 miles of the HDW camp site. The group will also conduct GPS surveys and establish a grid of coordinates with physical markers.
Prior to or following Hercules Dome work, the team will clean up artifacts from a previous science experiment at South Pole Lake, within 18 miles of South Pole Station. Work will consist of snowmobile commutes to the site to remove conduit and flags.
Deploying Team Members