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


Blog for 22 December.

Suddenly it's Saturday and I realize I missed our Ice Group meeting 
again. Days have a way of moving along here. We are cranking along with 
drilling, about 20 meters per day from 3000 meters depth. We are working 
in shifts. The drillers have enough for three shifts but I only have 
three core handlers. Because I have duties as Chief Scientist during the 
day I am working "swing shift" processing the ice core as it is drilled. 
This usually goes from 4 or 5 in the afternoon till 2 to 3 in the 
morning depending on the timing of the core. Fortunately, I can take 
naps during the day. We will stand down for Christmas dinner at 3 on 
Sunday and resume drilling at 3 on Monday.

To make things more interesting, we have been fighting a three day wind 
and snow storm. When it's not snowing we can move around pretty well but 
when the snow squalls come visibility drops to 50 meters or less and we 
get pounded. The heavy equipment operators are trying to knock some of 
the drifts down in town so we can move between tents without a 
face-plant. With no definition you can't see the drifts. We also need 
help keeping the access to the drilling arch open. It has been in place 
for 7 years and is completely drifted over so the doors are 30 feet 
below grade and drift over at any opportunity. This is the last season 
for the arch; deconstruction starts next year.

We drilled or first volcanic ash layer this year. Because this is a 
replicate core we already have a record of this layer and know it's 
depth (and age, about 40,000 years). This gives us a measure of where we 
are drilling, kind of important. We are within a meter of where we 
should be; not too shabby at the end of 3 kilometers of cable!

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas.

WAIS Divide Camp Ice Core Sample

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