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Satellite image of field camp on ice.
Photo Credit: ©DigitalGlobe Inc.; Image provided by National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Commercial Imagery Program
A satellite image of the WAIS Divide field camp captured on Oct. 14, 2012. The first staff reached the camp on Oct. 26, an unusually early arrival for a region where weather usually delays flights for days or even weeks at a time.

Early arrival

Staff reach WAIS Divide camp before Halloween to prepare for replicate coring

It's almost scary when it works according to plan. The first support staff arrived at the remote WAIS Divide field camp in West Antarctica on Oct. 26, only a day after the first LC-130 External U.S. government site flight was scheduled to land in support of a multi-year ice-coring project. 

"This is the first time in many seasons there has been a deep field put-in before Nov. 1. Halloween at WAIS Divide — that is a first!" reported Kendrick Taylor External Non-U.S. government site, chief scientist for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core External Non-U.S. government site program and researcher at the Desert Research Institute External Non-U.S. government site in Reno, Nev. 

U.S. researchers have recovered a 3,405-meter-long ice core from the site, with about 40 projects funded by the National Science Foundation External U.S. government site to study various properties of the ice core, with the goal of reconstructing past climate for the last 60,000 years or more in unprecedented detail. [See previous article — The last core: WAIS Divide deepens borehole for research into climate change.]

The 2012-13 field season will focus on what researchers have dubbed replicate coring. The technique uses a newly designed and built drill that will re-enter the borehole and grab additional samples of ice from specific depths that correspond to abrupt climate change events in the past. [See previous article — Repeat experiment: New replicate ice core system will target abrupt climate change events.]

Updates from the field camp during the season can be found here External Non-U.S. government site.

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Curator: Peter Rejcek, Antarctic Support Contract | NSF Official: Winifred Reuning, Division of Polar Programs