South Pole Ice Core

Documentation


Sample Requests

The South Pole ice core is archived at the National Science Foundation - Ice Core Facility (NSF-ICF) in Denver, CO. Refer to their website for information on how to request ice samples.


Timeline

The graphic below shows the timeline of major project activities. Science meetings were also held in the fall of 2018 and 2019. See the sections below for a more detailed explanation of the activities that took place each field season.


Field Season Documents

Field Season Major Activities Documents
2014/15
  • Dry drilled to 160 m
  • Cased hole to 130 m
  • Brittle ice handling began at 619 m
  • 580 m of non-brittle core cut, packed, and shipped on 2 cold-deck flights
  • Brittle cores netted and stored in 2-m long cardboard tubes in core storage trench
  • 3 days packing retro cargo and winterizing drill site
2015/16
  • 150 m of previous season’s brittle ice logged and packed
  • Brittle ice handling ended at 1078 m
  • 550 m of ice core shipped on 2 cold-deck flights
  • 616 m of ice remained on site packed in boxes (342 m brittle, 274 m ductile)
  • Fugitive gas sampling
  • 3 days packing retro cargo and winterizing drill site
2016/17
  • Packed and shipped all remaining ice on 2 cold-deck flights
  • Two borehole temperature logs to 1751 m
  • One borehole video log to 1751 m
  • Two borehole dust logs to 1587 m
  • Decommissioned drill site

Summary of Drilling and Core Handling Activities at South Pole

2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
Depths drilled (m) 5-736 736-1751 NA
Total depth drilled 731 1015 NA
Total drilling days 48 50 NA
Depths shipped to NSF-ICF (m) 5-585 585-735; 1078-1478 735-1078; 1478-1751
Total shipped to NSF-ICF 580 550 616
Major activities
  • Dry drilled to 160 m
  • Cased hole to 130 m
  • Brittle ice handling began at 619 m
  • 580 m of non-brittle core cut, packed, and shipped on 2 cold-deck flights
  • Brittle cores netted and stored in 2-m long cardboard tubes in core storage trench
  • 3 days packing retro cargo and winterizing drill site
  • 150 m of previous season’s brittle ice logged and packed
  • Brittle ice handling ended at 1078 m
  • 550 m of ice core shipped on 2 cold-deck flights
  • 616 m of ice remained on site packed in boxes (342 m brittle, 274 m ductile)
  • Fugitive gas sampling
  • 3 days packing retro cargo and winterizing drill site
  • Packed and shipped all remaining ice on 2 cold-deck flights
  • Two borehole temperature logs to 1751 m
  • One borehole video log to 1751 m
  • Two borehole dust logs to 1587 m
  • Decommissioned drill site
Personnel on-site 7 drillers, 1 science lead1, 2 core handlers 7 drillers, 1 science lead1, 2 core handlers2 2 drillers, 1 science lead, 2 core handlers

1Two people filled the role by each deploying for half of the season.
2Three core handlers deployed with one staying the entire season and two others splitting the season in half.


Summary of Ice Core Shipments to the NSF-ICF

Season Cold-deck flight date Meters of ice shipped Total ISC boxes shipped Depths shipped Tube numbers shipped In-flight observer
2014/15 1/5/2015 300 60a 5-305 5-304 Yes
2014/15 1/23/2015 280 56 305-585 305-584 Yes
2015/16 12/9/2015 150 30b 585-735 585-734
2015/16 1/16/2016 400 80 1078-1478 1078-1477
2016/17 12/2/2016 273 55 1478-1751 1478-1750 Yes
2016/17 12/14/2016 343 69 735-1078 735-1077 Yes

aAn additional four ISC boxes containing two 10-meter-long (101.6 mm (4 in) diameter) hand-augered firn cores were also shipped, bringing the total number of ISC boxes shipped on the cold-deck to 64.
bAn additional two ISC boxes containing fugitive gas flasks for Scripps Institution of Oceanography were also shipped.


Summary of Core Processing Line (CPL) Activities at the NSF-ICF

Austral summer Depths processed (m) Total depth processed (m) Total CPL days Ave. processing rate (m d-1) Samples cut
2015 5-555 550 14 39 2204
2016 555-734 and 1078-1462 563 15 38 3104
2017 734-1078 and 1462-1751 633 17 37 3574

Acknowledgements

This science was funded through the Antarctic Glaciology Program - Office of Polar Programs - National Science Foundation. We thank the U.S. Ice Drilling Program for building the Intermediate Depth Drill and its core handling system and drilling the ice core; the 109th New York Air National Guard for airlift in Antarctica; NSF's Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics and Antarctic Support Contractors and the members of the South Pole station who facilitated the field operations; and the National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility for ice core processing and archiving.