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

Situation Report #43, 13. January 2022

Personnel @LDC: Saverio Panichi (ENEA, Camp Leader), Carlo Barbante (ISP-CNR, PI), Olivier Alemany (IGE), Romain Duphil (IGE), Matthias Hüther (AWI), Calogero Monaco (ENEA), Philippe Possenti (IGE), Michele Scalet (ENEA), Jakob Schwander (unibe), Thomas Stocker (unibe), Remo Walther (unibe)

Weather at LDC: sunny, wind, afternoon covered, quite cold

Meteo at DC 6 pm: T = −30°C, Wind = 3 knt, Wind Chill T = −36°C

After final tests in the drilling tent we have now closed the roof opening and made it fit for overwintering. Preparing retro cargo continues and a first transport back to Dome C will be organized tomorrow.

This morning we witnessed a rare sight: the calm conditions and clear morning sky created a double mirage which permitted us to view Dome Concordia clearly. Dome C, at 34 km distance, is below the horizon. Through the special atmospheric condition, two images of Dome C were visible clearly, one upside down and one upright.

At RADIX, we have for the first time achieved deviation drilling. This was necessary because at a depth of 270 m the hole has a curvature that in subsequent runs inhibits penetration with the drill at normal length. We have then carefully reamed a stretch a few meters above this position and succeeded in drilling a new hole of about 2 m deviating from this location. This would have allowed to restart drilling. However, today we have been halted by a blocked motor. Blocking was caused by micrometer sized ice particles that are not captured by our filters, or that only form at the cold temperature of –55°C at depth. To top it off today, the drill decided to remain at 270 m depth. We have now applied a pull and are confident that the drill will soon give in and permit bringing it up to the surface.

RADIX drilling depth: 300.0 m

Thomas Stocker and Carlo Barbante