9 June 2009

We are now drilling and analyzing ice core

Susanne B., Susanne I. and Sebastian in the new cooks freezer.

Susanne B., Susanne I. and Sebastian in the new cooks freezer.

This is the first day in a hopefully long period of ice core drilling, ice core sampling and ice core measurements. We are in an “all hands on deck” situation. While drillers and scientists work in the snow caves, the support staff is reduced to a Cook (Sarah), two mechanics (Sverrir and Jørn), an experienced vehicle operator and all-round assistant (Lou), a Field Leader (J.P.) and a house mouse (on rotation among scientists). The “what we have done today” list will shorter from today; but it will have another fixed item: Processing.
A short explanation on depths given in the list: The reason why we apparently are able to log ice cores deeper than the drillers depth is because the top of the hole, where the drillers start, is approx. 11 m below the summer 2008 snow surface, which is the depth reference of the ice core depth (loggers depth). When the cores are logged (labeled and assigned depth) they are placed in the core buffer (a shelf system with more than 150 ice core troughs). The processers take cores from the buffer, cut samples, do measurements and pack samples and core sections in insulated crates for shipment. Right now, the processers are almost 200 m behind, but they will catch up.

What we have done today:

  1. Drilling with the NEEM long drill.
  2. Logging. Last bag: 542. Depth: 298.10 m.
  3. Processing 11 m ice cores. Processed depth: 111.65 m
  4. Preparing snow hill for storage garage.
  5. In the CFA lab., two more components are ready: Calcium and Ammonium.
  6. 6Made inventory in cooks freezer.

Ad.1: This is how the drillers report looks today: “The stable drilling mode from yesterday continued during the day. Our pitch goes from 3.5 mm early in the run and ends often at 2.5 mm. Drilling current is normally from 8 to 10 amps. Core brakes are stable and clean, around 700 kp netto, both core dogs engage. Chips recovery 100 %. Max run length today was 3.51 m. We drilled 26.2 m in 8 runs.
Drillers depth is 288.61 m.”

Ad.5: In the CFA laboratory more and more equipment is being added. It is going to be the most advanced Continuous Flow Analysis (CFA) and sampling program ever done on an ice core. A subsection of 33mm x 33mm along the ice core length is melted on a hot plate from start to end. The melt water will be analyzed for about 15 chemical impurities, continental dust, cosmogenic isotopes, volcanic tephra, isotopes of chemical impurities, trace metals, green house gases and isotopic composition of the water. As the CFA lab is filled with equipment, the temperature rises in the small cabin to tropical levels. We plan to make a funnel to the surface to lead the heat away.

Weather: Fine all day. -23 °C to -11 °C, 5-12 knots mainly from SSE.
Visibility: Unrestricted. We were able to enjoy afternoon tea outside at our picnic tables.

FL, J.P. Steffensen

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