Situation Report #9, 28. December 2019

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

Personnel: Saverio Panichi (ENEA), Michele Scalet (ENEA), Luc Piard (CNRS), Jakob Schwander (unibe),Thomas Stocker (unibe), Remo Walther (unibe), Massimo Frezzotti (U Roma 3), Riccardo Devescovi (Armi)

Weather at 8 am: sunny

The "ITASE Caravans" are our home at Little Dome C, and they provide an excellent infrastructure for work and recreation. An impression from the galley is given below in the picture. Irrespective of this seemingly relaxed setting, we have not only made significant steps foreward in both activities but also celebrated the historical first landing of an aircraft at the BELDC site. In the afternoon, a Twin Otter arrived from the Megadune Site which is about 600 km away from BELDC and inaugurated our airstrip. Our visitors received an exclusive tour around the camp, including coffee and biscuits.

With the four missing metal joints received yesterday, the BELDC tent frame was finished today. Congratulations to Luc, Massimo, Michele, Saverio and Riccardo! However, the team did not rest but immediately started to dig out the trench: very hard work indeed. In total about 25 m3 of dense snow must be removed by hand in the coming days.

The Radix Team has performed extensive leak tests of the packer and the casing and tightness could be confirmed, a prerequisite to start with the deep drilling. With the help of the Pistenbully crane the Radix winch was placed on a special sledge and moved into the Radix shelter. The Radix borehole logger, designed and built by Jakob, was also placed in the shelter. It will be used tomorrow to obtain information regarding the orientation of the 107.7 m long casing.

LDC, 28.12.2019