Situation Report #25, 13. January 2020

Little Dome C - Beyond EPICA Drilling Site (75.29917 degS, 122.44516 degE)

Personnel: Saverio Panichi (ENEA), Michele Scalet (ENEA), Jakob Schwander (unibe), Thomas Stocker (unibe), Remo Walther (unibe), Massimo Frezzotti (U Roma 3)

Weather: sunny, weak wind

Today, Massimo, Michele and Saverio were busy with camp maintenance, vehicle checks, and cleaning out old material from previous expeditions with our modules. The PB 100 is not quite up to the weather conditions that get colder and more "Antarctic" by the day. This required to clothe this Pistenbully with a tarp skirt in order to enable the start of the engine at any time. 

At Radix the great drilling progress of yesterday came to a halt again. Calculations and estimates from literature based on the EPICA Dome C deep drilling and various Greenland drillings indicate that with the very tough ice at BELDC we are operating at the very limits of the current version of Radix. Therefore, we continue to push the physical parameters of the Radix drill to the extent possible. For example, the high pressure pump can be pushed to 220 bar, and we have various centre drills that can be mounted. However, so far the ice at BELDC has been tenaciously resistant: It is a real challenge to obtain the necessary torque for chip production combined with the steady downward pull of the drill. We keep trying! Radix drilling depth: 192.5 m.

Regarding outreach, we are proud to report that BELDC features on the well-known social media and is collecting followers and subscribers every day.

LDC, 13.1.2020