Image of the Day
Success in the Field!
Mission accomplished for the WISSARD team, all shown here. Four holes drilled, and seismic, tilt, and temperature equipment deployed. They have packed up equipment and traversed back to the Subglacial Lake Whillans site, where they are packing and winterizing additional equipment. The whole team will fly to McMurdo in the next few days, followed by the 3-member traverse team, which will make the ~12 day trek. Image by Chad Carpenter, who used a timer and slid into place laying down in the front just in time. His antics made Graham, left, and Dan, right, laugh and even got Dennis to smile. Check out the TransAntarctic Mountains, behind. Beautiful. Job well done!
June 18, 2014
WISSARD has a new member working at the Priscu Lab at Montana State University! Tyler Subatch is part of the WISSARD Outreach Program and is MAP high school student from Plains Montana. The Montana Apprenticeship Program (MAP) is a six-week summer immersion for underrepresented minority high school students which provides rising sophomores, juniors and seniors their first taste of college life and hands-on science research experience with MSU faculty mentors. Tyler is mentored by Trista Vick-Majors and will be working on “Temperature sensitivity of bacterial isolates from Subglacial Lake Whillans".
The goal of MAP is to inspire young people to pursue college degrees and increase the number of Native American and other underrepresented high school students entering the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
MAP is fun and action packed - no two days are ever the same! In addition to science field trips, MAP students participate in diverse research projects, which may range from cancer studies and biofilm engineering, to climatology, veterinary research, and many other topics.
Program Benefits Include
*MAP students apprentice in world class research labs and earn $1,620 for the summer.
*Housing and all meals are provided.
*Full-time teachers, residential advisors, and a program coordinator provide round-the-clock supervision and support.
*Weekend field trips include visits to Yellowstone National Park, hiking, cultural events, and exploring the beauty of southwest Montana.
*More than 80% of MAP students graduate from high school and enter college.
WISSARD Project Overview
Subglacial Aquatic Environments
Over the last several decades, by using ground penetrating radar and other remote sensing tools, scientists have discovered that under the massive Antarctic ice sheets there lies a vast hydrological system of liquid water. This water exists because geothermal heat flow from below, coupled with pressure, movement, and the insulating nature of the ice sheet above, is great enough to maintain some areas at the base of the ice sheet above the freezing point, even in the extreme cold of Antarctica. In topographic depressions there are hundreds of lakes, both large and small; some are isolated, but many are interconnected by water channels and large areas of saturated sediments, the water eventually running out into the Southern Ocean as the ice sheet becomes a floating ice shelf.
In order to explore one of these hydrological systems at the margin of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, we have organized an interdisciplinary project to access the subglacial environment. The Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling project (WISSARD) is using a variety of tools and techniques to explore Subglacial Lake Whillans and the nearby grounding zone, on the southeastern edge of the Ross Sea. Radar and seismic equipment is used to profile the overlying ice sheet and the underlying water, sediments, and rock, while GPS stations accurately track ice movement.
Continued geophysical surveying is the focus of the 2013-2014 season. Two sites on the Whillans Ice Stream will be investigated. At each site a mobile, hot water drill will be used to create 15 cm holes, 750 meters in depth where borehole sesimic, tilt, and heat sensors will be deployed and left to collect long-term data. Surface seismic sensors will also be installed, to add to the network of GPS and active seismic stations monitored on the surface of the ice stream to help characterize the movement of ice and the conditions of the ice at the base of the ice stream.