Drilling at Siple Coast

Field Update - Project 1 - Siple Coast

1 January 2020

Event numbers K862 and K863

Field teams working to understand the stability of the Ross Ice Shelf during past warm periods had a hugely successful season on the Siple Coast at the Kamb Ice Stream. After geophysical surveys were carried out, the team reached a critical milestone, successfully using hot water to drill 600 metres through the ice shelf. An ocean mooring was deployed in the cavity below that will take continuous measurements over the coming years. Scientists obtained the first images from under the ice shelf from a high definition camera and marine sediment cores were retrieved. The team also worked with US collaborators to deploy the Icefin, a sleek under-ice oceanographic robot, through the drill hole to survey the ocean cavity below.

The Siple Coast is nearly 1000 kilometres from Scott Base, this multidisciplinary research is supported by a traverse across the Ross Ice Shelf, and scientists are flown in.

As well as Antarctica New Zealand field support staff, it involves an impressive team of researchers from Victoria University of Wellington, GNS Science, the University of Otago and NIWA.