Collecting Glacial Ice

18 Mar 2015
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One aim for this field season was to investigate further the chemistry of sea ice and glacial ice to see if and how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is within the ice. On one sunny day we got the good news that we could go onto one of the local glaciers to sample the ice. This was hugely exciting and the most adventurous CO2 sample I have ever taken!

We roped up and hiked with crampons into the crevasse field and found an opening in the ice where I could get into to take samples.

into_crevasse

We first created an anchor with ice screws so that I could abseil into the crevasse, whilst my two companions taking the weight on the line. Once inside I climbed to an area of pure, blue glacial ice and using an ice axe made some small chippings and collected them in a sample bag.

collecting_ice

It was very cold and quiet in the crevasse and surrounded by such pristine deep-blue ice it felt a very unique and magical experience. Especially as this area is relatively un-explored as it is out of the range of the normal mountaineering and technical area of Rothera Station. Once back at the surface, the glacial ice samples were cleaned with pure water (removing any snow) and stored in bags.

ice_samples

The ice was allowed to melt back in the lab before being analysed for the total CO2 chemistry.

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