It has been one week on Law Dome for the entire team, and what an incredibly productive week it has been.
We arrived in two teams, with an advance group of 5 people heading up the dome November 20th with much of the camp and science cargo. As they battled snow and wind to get all the equipment to our new camp, “DE08-OH,” the rest of us were trapped 130 km away at Casey Station due to bad weather. The three-day blizzard at Casey peaked with winds of 70 knots and a maximum gust of 94 knots!
After a long, snowy, bumpy ride up the ice dome in two tracked Hagglunds, we were all finally united.
Once at camp, everyone was eager to move temperature-sensitive cargo into tents (heroically erected in gale-force wind and blowing snow by the advance team). Making a long story of unpacking boxes short, we went from a 3-day blizzard to having most of our equipment set up in structures 3 days later.
Ice coring with the US 3” Eclipse drill has progressed to 60 m depth, with firn-air sampling from the surface to capture how the layers of snow trap air as they are compressed into ice.
The “ice melter” is safely at home in its melter shelter (or “melta shelta,” depending on your accent). This protective wooden box was put up in 2 days by AAD carpenter Brett, handily assisted by our traverse drivers Juan and Shane from Casey Station.
We have fully set up this system and as of December 6th have successfully undertaken our first tests with large ice cores (24 cm diameter, 1 meter long) drilled using the US Blue Ice Drill. The BID is at home in what we call “driller heaven,” a heavenly white tent that should make the operation weatherproof.
The latest project is excavating a trench to house one more drill, the US 4-inch system. The trench is marked out and the snowblowers are getting to work.
We hope everyone back home is having a great winter. If you’re dealing with snowy weather, we can relate down here on the wet side of Law Dome!