Over the coming weeks Ms. Niccoli's first graders and Mr. Brad's preschoolers will be joining us on our science expedition in Antarctica. While we (a science team from various parts of the world) work in sub-freezing conditions and sleep on ice for several weeks on end, the students will be enjoying the adventure from their warm and cozy classrooms. Feel free to follow along on our adventure together.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to read a little about our science team.

Satellite image of Antarctica, courtesy of NASA. The blue dot is McMurdo. The red dot is our field area on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ground Penetrating Radar

While ice cores and snow pits give us a look directly at the ice, they really only let us look in a few spots. We use ground penetrating radar to look at the amount of snow fall between the ice cores and snow pits.

Snow falls in both winter and summer in Antarctica, which creates layers of snow each year. The radars can "see" these layers beneath the surface, and we can use that to determine how much snow fell each year.

The radars are pulled on a sled, imaging the ice beneath the surface all along the way. A few months ago Dr. Koenig, Clement, and Landon went to the University of Kansas to build the radar sled to make sure it would work in Antarctica. They took the sled apart and shipped the pieces to Antarctica. Landon and Clement put the sled back together again at WAIS Divide Camp, while the rest of us set up camp and organized gear. It's a lot harder than it looks to build in these cold conditions.
Left: Landon and Clement building the radar sled
Center: Landon and Dr. Rupper finishing the radar sled
Right: Radar sled completed and loaded with the radars (red box) and radar gear

There is something very unique about this sled - it rides on three snowboards. Pretty creative if you ask me.

Watch this video to see a little more of the sled and radars.

1 comment:

  1. We've loved the last few posts. We're so proud of you for going to such an exciting place and doing really interesting, important science. Are you able to gage your results from the radar readings and core samples now, or will you need to wait to analyze the data back at BYU?

    p.s. Great camp names!