Situation Report #13, 1. January 2020
Little Dome C - Beyond EPICA Drilling Site (75.29917 degS, 122.44516 degE)
Personnel: Jakob Schwander (unibe), Thomas Stocker (unibe), Remo Walther (unibe), Massimo Frezzotti (U Roma 3)
Weather at 8 am: cloudy curtain around entire horizon, closing cloud cover by 10 am, strong winds
At New Year's Day we were greeted by weather completely different from the sunshine and low winds we experienced the 12 days before. Today, a cloudy curtain around the entire horizon closed completely within only two hours. Winds stayed high throughout the day and created adverse working conditions. At 6 pm it cleared up and the BELDC site was under blue sky again, however winds were still high. We are privileged that the Radix site is very well protected by our inflatable tent.
This morning, we have attempted the first Radix ice drilling. Unfortunately, clogging continued to be a problem throughout the day. It seems that some remaining ice crystals can accumulate locally and generate clogs that grow. Apparently, yesterday's cleaning procedure was not sufficient. When we flushed the bore hole without the drill attached, a very tough clog has formed at a constriction just before the outlet of the hydraulic tube. This indicates that there are still ice crystals in the drilling liquid that need to be eliminated. We decided to cycle the silicone oil through the hose for the entire evening with a heat source placed at the high pressure pump. First thing tomorrow, the bore hole will be flushed again before another drill attempt will be started.