The Early Years- First Season South
My first season in Antarctica was in 1995-96 at Taylor Dome, just up on the Antarctic polar plateau. This was the location of a 554 m ice core to bedrock, drilled in 1993-94. Participating in the field season under the NSF's Research Experience for Undergraduates program, I was a member of a 4 person team led by Ed Waddington of the University of Washington's Department of Earth and Space Sciences. We spent 6 weeks at Taylor Dome, making glaciological measurements, from surveying stakes using GPS to measure ice motion, to measuring accumulation and ablation on the ice sheet, measuring temperatures in the borehole left over from the coring operations, and looking into the borehole with the video camera you see below.
This is the downhole camera we lowered into the borehole. The camera looks straight down the borehole- the view is like this:
In the field of view you can see the prism that hangs at the bottom of the camera, and there is a dark circle, which is a metal marking band that has been inserted into the hole. We used the camera to measure the motion of these marking bands, and from these measurements, we calculated the age of the ice deep in the hole. I wrote a paper about this technique in the Journal of Glaciology. You can view the final paper in either HTML or PDF format.
This was a life-changing experience for me, and opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in polar science, and to working in the Antarctic and Artcic. When I came home, I decided to become a glaciologist, and I've stayed in glaciology ever since.