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A record ice hole pierced in Antarctica



Yes, it's an ice hole, okay.
Image: BAS / BEAMISH

Using a hot water probe, British scientists have dug a 7,060-foot drill through the Antarctic ice sheet. The comically long ice hole is the largest ever for Western Antarctica and aims to improve our understanding of raising the sea level associated with the climate.

This project, led by the British Antarctic Survey, is called "Bedding, Monitoring and Ice" History of Leaf, "or BEAMISH. It began 20 years ago and its scientists tried, unsuccessfully, to break a hole in 2004. All these years of hard work and planning seem to have finally paid off.

On January 8, a crew of 11 members of the BEAMISH team, after 63 hours of continuous drilling, finally reached the sediment below, according to a BAS press release. From top to bottom, the hole is 1.3 miles (2,152 meters or 2.1 kilometers), which is the length of 20 end-to-end football pitches.

"I have long been waiting for this moment and I am pleased that we have finally achieved our goal," BAS leading scientist BAS Andy Smith said in a statement. "There are gaps in our knowledge of what is happening in West Antarctica, and by studying the area where the ice sits on soft sludge, we can better understand how this region can change in the future and contribute to the global rise of sea ​​level. "

This ice hole is now the deepest in the past, made with a hot water probe in Western Antarctica, the BBC reported. BEAMISH is currently working in the icy stream of Rutford Ice-Stream, the fast-pacing ice in West Antarctica. As for the deepest hole of any species that has ever been drilled in Antarctica, this distinction extends to a 7,290-foot (2,414-meter) drilling forming the IceCube Neutrino Observatory near the South Pole.

BEAMISH's team worked in Rutford Ice Stream in the Western Antarctic since November 2018.
Image: BAS / BEAMISH

After reaching the bottom of the ice sheet beside the sediment below, the members of the BEAMISH team were sent various tools down through the ice temperature recorder, water pressure, and ice deformation detection

As noted above, the main concern of the BEAMISH project is to learn more about rising sea levels. Scientists are currently struggling to learn why rising sea levels are happening faster than expected and how long this process can continue. As the BEAMISH website explains, the project seeks to understand the "past behavior of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet …" [and] the flow of rapid "ice streams" that drain it. By measuring the ice surface and drilling into the ice of the Rutford stream, we will find out how long the ice sheet has completely disappeared and how the water and soft sludge beneath it have helped the ice move rapidly on its way to eventual melting. in the sea. "

Keith McKinnon, a physical oceanographer at the BAS, said that the warmer ocean waters tear off many glaciers in Western Antarctica.

"We are trying to understand how slippery the sediment is under these glaciers and how quickly they can flow from the continent into the sea," he said in a statement from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. "This will help us determine the future rise of the Western Antarctic sea level with greater certainty."

On January 22, BEAMISH broke through a second ice hole and now plans for another kilometer. The team will continue to work in Antarctica by mid-February.

  Photo of article overview
Antarctic scientists will be pierced in one of the most isolated lakes of the Earth

Buried under 4000 feet of Antarctic ice lies Lake Mercer, a backwater body of water that forms …

read Read

With the full force of summer in Antarctica, scientists are working hard. In addition to this project, there is a SALSA on sub-Antarctic Lakes, which managed to drill a 4,000-foot hole at the end of December, reaching the water known as Mercer.

This is the season for making holes with ice, I guess.

[British Antarctic Survey, BBC]


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