Friday, January 18, 2013

Pine Island Glacier II

In the austral summer of 2012-2013 scientists and support staff spent six weeks camped on Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier. Our fieldwork was part of a collaborative research project titled Ocean-Ice Interaction in the Amundsen Sea: the Keystone to Ice-Sheet Stability.

Flying over the chaotic shear zone created by tension between the rapidly moving Pine Island Glacier and the relatively static West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

A British Antarctica Survey Havilland Twin Otter was instrumental in supporting the research camp.

Drill Camp A was the first of three camps on the Pine Island Glacier

 Dale Pomraning, Hot Water Driller Extraordinaire

Galley Tent at Drill Camp A

Oceanographer Bill Shaw helping drill a 400+ meter deep hole through the Ice Shelf.

Tim Stanton, Bill Shaw and Jim Stockel of the Navel Postgraduate School deploying an automated ocean profiler below the glacier.

Geophysicist Leo Peters and mountain guide Einar Steinarsson take seismic measurements to study the shape of the ocean cavity and the properties of the bedrock under the ice shelf.

Einer manually generates a seismic event.

Celebrating succes at Drill Camp A

Leftover mud from a sediment core provides a Pine Island Glacier Facial.

Moving 10-meters a day the 37-mile long ice shelf is chaotic mass of broken ice.

 Leo and Einer complete another day of helicopter supported seismic work.

Graduate Student Kiya Riverman and glaciologist Martin Truffer debate ice dynamics.

Extreme pRES technician Mike Shortt of the British Antarctic Survey uses radar-based ice thickness measurements to determine melting rates on the underside of the PIG Ice Shelf.

Forrest McCarthy scouting a large cravasse.

Pine Island Glacier

Cornrows of tormented glacial ice.

A massive crack transects the Pine Island Glacier.

The birth of a giant iceberg.

Tributary Cracks on the Pine Island Glacier.

Massive ice blocks near the grounding line mark the transition from glacier to ice shelf.

An A-Star Helicopter ready to be loaded on an LC-130 Hercules

"Pigs on the Wing"

Operations Map of Pine Island Glacier with proposed landing sights.

A recent radar image of the Pine Island Glacier.
Evidence of our traverse between Drill Camps is visible in the bottom right.
Photo by TerraSar-X


  1. It's been neat to get an inside look on the operations down there. Keep posting!

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  3. Hi! This is Erika McPhee-Shaw, Bill Shaw's wife. Thank you so much for these awesome videos and postings! It has been great to show our kids, and I'm busily sharing with family, friends and colleagues since everyone in the community LOVES seeing how intense life was down there on the big ice. Thank you!