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Don Voigt’s Blog from WAIS Divide Camp; 79º 28’S, 112º 05’W



Yes, it’s a big deal. Like, never been done before. Our main borehole is 
3405 meters deep. The deepest US ice core ever drilled. The age at the 
bottom of the hole is about 68,000 years old.

This year’s objective is to obtain replicate core from four specific 
scientifically important targets. To do this the Ice Drilling and Design 
Operation (IDDO) out of the University of Wisconsin has developed a 
drill that uses arms to push off to the side of the main borehole. They 
started by forming a 100 mm deep pocket in the wall of the hole with a 
broaching tool that is scraped along the wall. Once that was deep enough 
a milling tool was used to make a flat bottom to the deviation. Then the 
core barrel was used to drill at an angle of about 1 degree into the ledge.

This sounds like a cake walk until you remember that this is at the end 
of a 3000 meter long cable and they can’t see what they are doing! We 
are now drilling 24 hours a day, 6 days a week to obtain about 250 
meters of additional core. The targets for replicate core contain ice 
from four important periods in the climate record, but that’s a story in 

Meanwhile, life goes on at WAIS Divide. People come and go (when we have 
enough of a weather window to get a plane) and camp is getting ready for 
the holidays. We saw a snow petrel on Saturday, a big deal here 300 
miles from the coast. That was talked about for several days. We don’t 
get much news.


You can email Don at

WAIS Divide Camp Ice Core


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