Situation Report #24, 12. January 2020

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: morning fog, sunny, steady northerly wind

Today was a busy day as 11 colleagues arrived from Dome C at 11.30 am for a visit. A tour around the camp showed what we have achieved in the past 24 days, and the visitors were impressed. They could also see Radix in full operation (see below). Lunch was served in the recreation tent. We enjoyed a Lasagne Bolognese, prepared by Franco the Chef of Dome C, followed by the famous Zuppa di Pesce by Saverio, various drinks and Crostata di Albicocche with caffè. The highlight of today was the official planting of the BELDC signpost, a gift prepared by Michele, the carpenter of Dome C. At 2 pm we said goodbye to our visitors, and in particulart to Luc and Riccardo who transferred back to Dome C after their work has been completed. Thank you both for your great contribution to the BELDC site!

In the morning Remo made use of the universal machine (lathe) and produced a small internal piece for the overpressure valve. Jakob designed this piece so that the operation range of the valve was extended and higher pressures during drilling would be possible. Thanks to the well equipped workshop here at BELDC, Remo was able to produce this piece efficiently and at high precision. After a test of the modified valve, we were able to drill in production mode. It was a great moment for us to observe how the drill pulled itself into the ice at a speed of about 1.3 cm/s. Radix drilling depth:

190.0 m.

LDC, 12.1.2020