British researchers drilled through the West Antarctic ice sheet
Scientists from the UK have succeeded in drilling more than two kilometers into the Antarctic ice. This is the deepest hole made with a hot-water drill on the western side of the continent. Ice borehole reaches sediments beneath the ice surface.
Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have hardened the bottom of the borehole and placed a number of instrumentóin measured. Researchers hope that the data collected will help determine how fast the Antarctic ice sheet is melting.
Dr. Andy Smith is the director of the study. He and his team still remain at the research site known as the Rutfold Ice Stream. The scientist admits that he is very pleased to have achieved success, on który worked for many years. The latest failed próba drilling of such a hole took place in 2004.
– I have been waiting for this moment for a long time, and I am happy that we have achieved the goal – mówi. – There are gaps in our knowledge. We don’t know what happens to the ice deposited on the soft ground of West Antarctica. The research will help us better understand how the region will change as a result of global warming – adds Dr. Smith.
There are several waysów to make a borehole in the ice. A popular method is to use a special drilling corer, allowing the ice to come to the surface. Its composition can then be studied in the laboratory. Another wayób involves the use of hot water injected under lód using a hose. This method prevents the extraction of ice, but opens the way to other research. It was this technique that BAS scientists used.
The project is called BEAMISH, and it was completed very quickly. OpenóThe r was drilled on January 8 after just 63 hours of work. However, the goal is difficult to achieve due to the fact that just after the work is completed, openór is starting to freeze again due to the minus 30 degrees Celsius temperature prevailing outside.
Scientists are interested in the Rutfold Ice Stream because it is a typical fast-flowing ice stream in West Antarctica. It has almost 300 kilometersóin length and is 25 kilometers wideów. It transports lód towards the Weddel Sea. Scientists want to better understand how this great river of ice moves. To do so, they need to have more information about what’s at the bottom of it, after which lód up „slips” and how much water may be there.
To get this information compositeół placed instruments at the bottom of the borehole, whichóre will provide information on the speed of the ice stream’s movement. The data collected will allow the development of computer models, whichóre will predict the future facing Antarctica as a result of global warming.
The hole madeór is the deepest well drilled using hot water in the west of the continent. A few years ago, using the same technique, a 2.4-kilometer deep well was drilled in the east of Antarctica. But up to 3-kilometer-long holes have been drilled using drills.
syndromeół BAS is working to improve drilling using hot water. UK scientists want to access lakes deep under the ice with this technology. Researchers working in Antarctica still have their hands full. On January 22, the second well was completed, and a total of four are expected to be drilled.