WISSARD Project Overview Images

Date: 
December 2012
WISSARD drilling deck; the hub of our drilling and science operations.

Learn more about the WISSARD project through the images of the scientists preparing for field operations, working in the field and analyzing data.

Overview of the drill set up at the WISSARD test site, December 2012. Fassi crane is lifting the Load Transfer Case which holds the scientific instruments in place over the borehole. The Launch and Recovery decking platform (LARS) is shown in the foreground with the drill crescent that feeds the hot water drill hose (left, center) and two blue 225 killowatt generators that power the drill and camp operations (right, background). Brent Christner, photo.

Photo Gallery: 
Overview of the drill set up at the WISSARD test site, December 2012.  Fassi crane is lifting the Load Transfer Case which holds the scientific instruments in place over the borehole.  The Launch and Recovery decking platform (LARS) is shown in the foreground with the drill crescent that feeds the hot water drill hose (left, center) and two blue 225 killowatt generators that power the drill and camp operations (right, background).  Brent Christner, photo.
Driller Graham Roberts installs the high Intensity UV collar used to irradiate science tools as they enter the borehole to insure no surface microbial contamination.  Clean access procedures are a focus of the WISSARD project, and designed to keep the pristine subglacial environment clean. Brent Christner, photo.
Drillers Daren Blythe and Dar Gibson shovel snow into the snow melter providing water for the hot water drill which will melt a hole through 800 meters of ice on top of Subglacial Lake Whillans. JT Thomas, photo.
Pre-cleaned and bagged instrument prepared for clean access into the borehole at the WISSARD test site, December 2012.  All instruments used to collect water and sediment samples are treated with hydrogen peroxide solution and bagged to avoid surface contamination before deployment.  Betty Trummel, photo.
Custom built mobile science labs are on site so that scientists, Dr. Jill Mikucki and Trista Vick-Majors shown here, can prepare samples and complete sensitive microbial and geochemical analysis in the field.  Susan Kelly, photo.
Instruments designed by the NIU science team (shown here) will capture real-time data as they are deployed through Subglacial Lake Whillans water and sediments.  Susan Kelly, photo.
Emily McBryan cheering on the traverse team as they took off from the WIS-Spot test site on the McMurdo Ice Shelf towards the Subglacial Lake Whillans deep field site. The traverse, pulling 24 containers of drilling and scientific equipment, left on December 30, 2012 and arrives on January 12, 2013 after a 611 mile journey across the Ross Ice Shelf. Image, Marcy Beitch
Caterpillar Challenger tractors, the "traverse special", used to pull WISSARD equipment to the deep field.  Image, Alex Michaud
UCSC PhD student Grace Barcheck looks down on the bright Ross Ice Shelf en route to the Whillans Ice Stream.
Graduate students Alex Michaud (MSU) and Marci Beitch (UCSC) posing at the WIS-Spot test sign on the McMurdo Ice Shelf (MIS). The drilling and science teams were transported about 30 minutes from the town of McMurdo out on the MIS to perform the test of their Hot Water Drill and scientific instruments before deploying them at Subglacial Lake Whillans.
Saying farewell and good luck to the traverse team of 12 tractors, 24 containers, and thousands of gallons of fuel who will transport the hot water drill system and many other scientific instruments 628 miles across the Ross Ice Shelf to the Subglacial Lake Whillans deep field drilling site. Image, Marci Beitch.