Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ice Core Drilling

Me in the drilling trench . The purpose of the trench is so that there is room for the drilling tower. The building itself is not tall enough. The trench is approximately 5 feet wide by 60+ feet deep. Because the snow pushes in over time, we had to use electric chainsaws to carve the snow back so that the drilling tower can swing freely.

Bess preparing the ice cores for shipping. The ice cores slip inside a webbing and then go inside a plastic bag. The whole thing is then put in a metal cylinder. Four of these go into one box where snow is used as a packing material. The ice cores are shipped all the way back to the US by plane and ship. They are kept at a constant temperature the whole way.
The scientists are not studying the ice so much as the trapped air bubbles in the ice. This allows them to study the composition of the atmosphere at a given time. They have drilled roughly a mile a down this pont, and will go about two miles total. When they are done, they will have a record going back to between 100,000 to 125,000 years ago.

Bruce, head ice core handler, for lack of a better title

From within the drilling trench

Ice cores in the storage "basement" where they are kept around 22 degrees below zero farenheit

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