Posted by: sioglac | Dec 19, 2012

Good news and bad news…

If you follow us on twitter or facebook, then you know likely know all this already. I’m more of a bad news first type of guy, so let’s start there:

Bad News

Drilling at Lake Ellsworth has halted due to an electronics problem. View their principle investigator (PI) Martin Seigert talk about it here. Antarctica is, as well all hear, a harsh continent and problems are bound to arise. There are two silver linings here though:

  1. It’s early in the season and the problem occurred early in the drilling process. That means that there’s both time and, more importantly, fuel to start over if they can solve the problem. We are all pulling for this outcome because Lake Ellsworth data would (as I previously mentioned) help put our data from Lake Whillans into better perspective.**
  2. A well planned field season has no shortage of contingency plans. You never know what challenges each season will bring, so you plan for everything. In this case, the Ellsworth crew is out collecting snow samples to better understand the glaciological and hydrological setting of their lake.

Good News

The WISSARD team has successfully tested our hot water drill on the Ross Ice Shelf, boring through about 280 feet to the Ross Sea below. Clean sampling and instrumentation tests are underway. This means that so far, all systems are go. We’re on schedule and ready to rock. News like this makes me want to be in McMurdo right now.

**A mere 6 days after I wrote a post detailing how drilling all three lakes is absolutely necessary to start piecing a picture of subglacial hydrology, National Geographic publishes an article with the title, “Race is On to Find Life Under Antarctic Ice.” We love the facetime that comes with articles like this, but guys, it’s not a race. And it’s definitely not a race of Scott/Amundsen proportions. Their race was so heated that Amundsen left a note at the South Pole with instructions for Scott to forward it to the King of Norway. That’s just cruel.



  1. […] Is On To Find Life Under Antarctic Ice: I linked it yesterday, but why  not link it again! National Geographic had a great write up of the search for life in […]

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