WISSARD Science Comes to a Close
Here’s an update of the past couple of days out at the SLW field camp.
The water sampling finished after three rounds of Niskin deployment, in-situ water filter sampling and the CTD. The water was extremely full of sediment, so the filters on the in-situ looked a little like coffee filters.
The geothermal probe was successfully deployed and it measured the temperature gradient below the ice. The probe was deployed two times, and it penetrated 1 meter and 1.5 meters on those deployments. These measurements combined with the thermal conductivity measurements allow scientists to determine the heat flux from the Earth into the ice.
Following the geothermal probe was the piston corer, which got smaller cores of about a meter in length. Scientists deployed the mothership and Msled but the water layer in the borehole was frozen. They did not have enough strength to punch through the ice unfortunately. Time constraints meant the further deployment of this pair of instruments was not possible.
The percussion corer was deployed with the bigger winch, which was functioning at a reduced level after some repairs were made. Seismic strings have been placed in the borehole and will freeze into place.
Drillers are busy putting everything away and taking things apart for winter storage. Scientists are being flown back into McMurdo and cargo is loaded up on each and every trip. Some of the equipment cannot stay in the cold all winter long. Next season the team will be back in the field, for a longer time, and will set up the drill, instruments, and equipment to take more samples and gather additional data.
The photos below depict some of the last instrument deployments, scientists working in labs, and drillers starting to wrap up the season and winterize the hot water drilling system. It’s been a busy week or so at the SLW field site/camp. A lot of new samples have been obtained, and scientists will work back home to further analyze these samples.
What a tremendous amount of work everyone has put into this season by everyone on the WISSARD team. With its challenges and successes…I think we’ve all seen the process of science in action. Enjoy these photos….and stay tuned for a few more blogs from McMurdo!