South Pole Ice Core

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2015-2016 Field Season

Click on the images below to view photo captions, photo credits, and larger versions of the photos (via Flickr©).


Shoveling snow for filling in the slot_johnson Interior view of the drill tent as being left for the winter Drill tent nearly ready for the winter View of the cargo berm Filling in the drill slot The extended borehole casing Inside the core storage trench at the end of the 2015-16 field season Cargo returning to South Pole Station A view of the inside of the core storage trench on 25-Jan-2016 A view of the inside of the core storage trench on 25-Jan-2016 Emma Kahle cleaning the last core Eric Steig and Emma Kahle pack the last meter of ice (1750-1751 meters depth) The very last run of ice (1751 meters depth) inside the barrel of the Intermediate Depth Drill Eric Steig pushes the last core out of the drill barrel Elizabeth Morton with meter 1751 An aerial view of the South Pole Ice Core camp SouthPole_Handshake_steig Extracting the inner core barrel from the outer barrel on the final drill run (depth 1751 meters) of the project Emma Kahle next to the Intermediate Depth Drill The drill head with ice from 1600 meters depth Ice cores waiting for a plane Eric Steig cleaning the run of core from 1600 meters depth Drilling holes in the second hollow shaft so that it matches the hollow shaft that has been in use this (2015-16) season Core from 1600 meters depth being pushed out of the drill barrel Tensioning the new cable on the winch The screw head that damaged the new 1922-meter long cable Removing the 1,600-meter long cable from the winch drum Ice cores ready for transport back to South Pole Station View of the damaged winch cable View of the 1922-meter long cable after being repaired with brass shims The new 1922-meter long cable spooled on the winch drum and ready for use Emma Kahle with the tube that contains ice from 1500 meters depth The control box for the Intermediate Depth Drill showing that 1500 meters depth has been reached Ice core with ridged pattern on its surface Zach and Shawntel adding oil to the winch gearbox Vent tube and bottle added to the winch gearbox New geographic South Pole marker Julie Palais (NSF), Elaine Hood (ASC), Howard Conway (UW), and Michelle Koutnik (UW) visit the drill site The core storage trench full of non-brittle ice (the white boxes) ready for shipment back to the USA and brittle ice (inside the tubes on the shelves) that will winter-over at the Pole. Newly drilled ice core Lead Driller Jay Johnson and NSF Antarctic Glaciology Program Director Dr. Julie Palais Visible ash layer at ~1180 meters depth Backlit snowpit Zach Meulemans repairing the spare motor power supply units Members of the Ice Cube science team visit the SPICE Core drill site Left-over pieces from the fugitive gas sampling Zack Meulemans drilling the 1000th meter of ice Rebuilding the drill's motor section. Mindy Nicewonger's last shift for the season. Shown left to right are: Grant Boeckmann, Dom Winski and Mindy Nicewonger 1000 meters depth Chop saw test on tube 1062 to see if the ice at this depth is still displaying brittle behavior. The ice did not display brittle behavior during, or after, the cut. While there are still some visible bubbles in the ice, it is not displaying brittle behavior. Putting the winch back together after diagnosing a short in the winch cable. From left to right is Zack Meulemans (inside the control room), Jay Johnson and Shawntel Stapleton. The 2015/16 SPICECORE field team The night shift (left to right): Grant Boeckmann, Mindy Nicewonger, Dom Winski The mid shift (left to right): Emma Kahle, Nicholas Wipperfurth, Elizabeth Morton The day shift (left to right): Zack Meulemans, Jay Johnson, Murat Aydin, Shawntel Stapleton Ice destined for core tube number 1000 A pallet of drilling fluid is delivered The shelves for storing the 2-meter long sections of brittle ice On the left is the drill tent and on the right are several pallets of empty ice core boxes 1000 meters drilled! The 2015/16 SPICECORE field team An air force pallet (AFP) of ice cores covered with an insulated blanket The ice from last season (2014/15 season) is packed and getting netted on an air force pallet (AFP) Matching the bottom and top from two different brittle ice runs from last year. One 1 m long section of ice core and one 2 m long section of ice core matched up on the processing table before we cut the 2 m long section into two 1 m long sections Processing last season's 'brittle ice'. Mindy and Emma receiving a freshly drilled section of ice core Moving the ice cores up out of the core storage trench to ready them for transport to McMurdo Station. First core of 2015-16 season Dominic Winski and Grant Boeckmann running the drill Photo of some of the bermed cargo after its first winter-over at the South Pole. Photo of the drilling tent after its first winter-over at the South Pole. Photo of the drilling tent after its first winter-over at the South Pole. Photo of the drilling tent after its first winter-over at the South Pole. Photo of the inside of the drilling tent after its first winter-over at the South Pole. Photo of the drilling tent after its first winter-over at the South Pole. Shawntel Stapleton works with the Intermediate Depth Drill at South Pole The Intermediate Depth Drill emerges from the borehole at South Pole Shawntel Stapleton operates the Intermediate Depth Drill at South Pole A driller works with the Intermediate Depth Drill at South Pole The tent that houses the drilling operation at South Pole The Intermediate Depth Drill's cutting head with a freshly drilled ice core inside Inside the tent that houses the Intermediate Depth Drill at the South Pole Murat Aydin cleans drilling fluid off a rent ice core as he prepares it for storage Murat Aydin records information about an ice core he processed The Intermediate Depth Drill ascending out of the borehole at South Pole

2014-2015 Field Season

Click on the images below to view photo captions, photo credits, and larger versions of the photos (via Flickr©).


The 2014-15 South Pole ice core field team at the Ceremonial South Pole Drilling one of six shallow cores at the drill site for snow density measurements Assembling the skeleton/framework for the WeatherPORT tent. Pulling the WeatherPORT etnt fabric over the frame. Pulling the WeatherPORT tent over the drilling trench. Working on the slot for the Intermediate Depth Drill Constructing the roof for the core storage trench Assembling the Intermediate Depth Drill Drilling a 10 m firn core with a hand auger The start of the drilling with the Intermediate Depth Drill Group picture after drilling/collecting the first ice core with the Intermediate Depth Drill. Reaming of the dry drilled borehole. Bagging freshly-drilled ice cores. Unveiling of the new South Pole Marker Unveiling of the new South Pole Marker Mindy Nicewonger standing next to insulated shipping container (ISC) boxes filled with 1-meter long sections of ice cores. Mindy Nicewonger at the core processing station inside the drill tent. View of the wet drilling operation inside the drill tent. The first visible tephra (volcanic ash) layer in the ice core Moving the ice cores up out of the core storage trench Inside the core storage trench Moving the ice cores from the drill site to South Pole Station Building the air force pallets of ice cores (L to R): Murat Aydin, T.J. Fudge and Mindy Nicewonger in front of a U.S. Air Force LC-130 Hercules Air force pallets (AFPs) of ice rest under an unused steel arch until the next cold deck flight Inside the core storage trench Building the air force pallets (AFPs) of ice cores Packing the insulated shipping container (ISC) box with ice cores Inside the drill tent after it has been winterized for the 2015 austral winter Storage rack for ice wintering-over at the drill site Cargo winterized on 6-foot high spools to minimize drifting at the drill site T.J. Fudge speaks with Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James Mindy Nicewonger (right) and T.J. Fudge (center) speak with Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James (left) View of the WeatherPort tent that houses the drilling and core handling operations View of the borehole (bottom) and the drill (top) Lead driller Tanner Kuhl guides drill into position to start drilling operations View of the core processing station inside the drill tent Empty ice core (ISC) boxes stored at the drill site at the end of the 2014-15 season Empty ice core (ISC) boxes stored at the drill site at the end of the 2014-15 season Retrograded ice cores from the 2014-15 field season safely inside the National Ice Core Laboratory Retrograded ice cores from the 2014-15 field season safely inside the National Ice Core Laboratory The South Pole Ice Core (SPICE) drilling operation A science team member prepares to extract an ice core from the drill Science team members work in the South Pole Ice Core (SPICE) drilling tent, cleaning the drill and measuring ice cores Inside the South Pole Ice Coring (SPICE) tent A close-up of an ice core still in the drill barrel The Ice Drill and Design Operations (IDDO) group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison designed and built the South Pole Ice Core (SPICE) drilling system, called the Intermediate Depth Drill The South Pole Ice Coring (SPICE) drill returns to the surface after retrieving an ice core The South Pole Ice Core (SPICE) field camp is located about two kilometers from the South Pole Station The South Pole Ice (SPICE) Core field camp, located a few kilometers from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, was set up during the 2014-15 field season The South Pole Ice (SPICE) Core field camp, located a few kilometers from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, was set up during the 2014-15 field season Ice cores are stored in tubes that are carefully marked with identifying information as to their depth in meters The Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison designed and built the South Pole Ice Core (SPICE) drilling system, called the Intermediate Depth Drill