When it comes to drilling…

Published on 17.12.2007 - Norwegian-US Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica

The members of the US-Norway expedition continue to make steady progress while working at the same time...

"When we do any drilling to extract ice cores," writes expedition leader Jan Gunnar, "one of our most important tasks is to accurately date the ice-core itself. There are several ways of doing this," he continues. "One of them consists in using the knowledge that we have of our own history, such as the nuclear bomb tests that were carried out by the Americans between 1955 and 1965 and the resulting radioactive fallout in the atmosphere. We know that the fallout from these tests have been observed on numerous occasions by many expeditions in the crust of the Antarctic icecap. All we have to do is dig down deep enough to detect it (the equivalent of about 7.50 metres in the case of Antarctic ice) and then let the lab fine-tune the results."

Despite a number of technical breakdowns caused by the bad weather (the worst of which was a broken gearbox), the expedition continues to progress steadily towards the Pole, while stopping to conduct work along the way such as drilling into the ice and collecting the cores they need.

Taking advantage of one of these mechanical breakdowns on 16th December (this time the transfer gearbox in one of the vehicles had broken and urgently needed replacing), the team of researchers set itself the task of drilling down to a depth of 90 metres in order to install the first of two automatic weather stations planned to be installed along the route to the Pole.

Their position on 16th December: 78°64622 S / 35°64052 E

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