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Bad Weather Day

BEACON VALLEY, ANTARCTICA– The early morning started out with blustery winds and soon snow from the polar plateau started blowing in; it was by far the worst weather we have experienced during this field season. So what do we do on a bad weather day… work. I took the video camera out in the field to capture the harsh working environment.

We began drilling the glacier ice and despite the weather conditions the day started well as we were recovering beautiful, clean, bubbly glacier ice. But soon the borehole reached a small sandy-pebbly layer within the ice and the pace of drilling came to a crawl. Drilling sediment rich ice releases enough heat to melt the ice between the sand grains. When the drill slows down the ice quickly refreezes and makes a sand ice slurry (yes, I referred to it as “crap” in the video) which adheres to the auger like cement making cleaning an arduous process.

The round depression on the top of the recovered slurry core was caused by the down-hole vacuum which assists in removing broken up rock and ice cemented debris created during drilling. Material not removed by the vacuum is hopefully recovered via use of the core barrel as shown in this video. After a few more cleaning runs with the vacuum and core barrel, we were back into clean ice once again!

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3 Responses »

  1. And we thought New England weather was bad.

  2. great video!

  3. Cool!!