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Don Voigtʼs Blog from WAIS Divide Camp; 79º 28ʼS, 112º 05ʼW


I've been at WAIS Divide Camp for about a week now in the role as Chief Scientist for camp. I will oversee drilling of a replicate core from portions of the 3405 meter deep ice core we finished last year. My other role is to facilitate the comings and goings of the other field teams here and to coordinate Camp and Science activities. Our camp is in the center of West Antarctica, a flight of 3 1/2 hours from McMurdo station by LC-130. I arrived with three of the drillers who are part of the 9 person team that will run the drill. I will be in charge of three science techs who will process and pack the ice core as it comes up. 

When we arrived, camp officially switched from put-in mode to full-on support of science. Our population is at about 55 now, but that seems to change several times a day. Camp is supporting a project north of us on Pine Island Glacier so we have with flights coming and going. Last night a traverse of heavy tractors came in from Byrd Camp where the equipment wintered, on the way to Pine Island (PIG). We are also supporting the PoleNet project as they fly out to various sites to service seismic and GPS stations and download data. This is a different mode than we have experienced in previous seasons when focus was fully on the Ice Core project.
Weather this season has been strange. Very cold when we first arrived with nights down to -30 C and days around -20 C. In the past two days the winds have shifted and the temperatures have warmed significantly. We have received several inches of fresh snow as well. Unfortunately, the next time the wind picks up (probably tonight) all the nice new snow will find a home. Mostly in
drifts around our tents and equipment.
Our work right now is to prepare the drilling arch. The drillers are setting up equipment and bringing in parts that were re-machined in Madison over the summer. I am setting up the ice core processing equipment and getting ready to receive the core, measure and mark it and pack it for transportation back to McMurdo Station and on to the National Ice Core Lab in Denver, CO.

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