Ice Ice Core: Sampling

Yoana Boleaga Student Posts 1 Comment

As I got on the helicopter, with Jacob (one of my micro team mentors), Korenna (a group member from micro team), and Cynthia and Alessandra (chemistry mentors), I knew that I would have an unforgettable memory. We were heading to an ice floe to collect ice core samples! I was up since 9pm the night before for CTD station(s) prepping with my group (water collections) and had at least a two-hour nap before Korenna woke me up to tell me that we had to get ready to go to the ice floe. I did not want to wake up, sleeping felt so much better, but I knew I was going to regret it, because it was an opportunity to stand on an ice floe in the Arctic and learn about the tools used for core sampling.
First, the helicopter pilot (Adam) surveyed the floe, and when we landed, we took out all the equipment we needed. There were two drills, a big straw-like pipe (to collect the ice core), a temperature reader, a meter ruler, a saw, and some bags to put the ice in. Cynthia and Jacob picked a location and Alessandra prepped the core tool and started drilling like a BOSS. There were some difficulties at first since we couldn’t get the core to come out, but we got it out in no time. We then took a deeper core sample in the same location, since Jacob wanted to collect the deepest core sample we could get, while Cynthia was good with the surface. The core was about 2 meters! Cynthia then made a mark, with the saw, at every 10 cm and had Korenna and me drill a small hole at the center of each one to get a temperature reading. She then had us saw at each mark and put the pieces into separate bags so we know the depths of each one. As we worked on that, Alessandra worked on another core collection at a different location. Her core collection was different, because she was collecting this sample for an isotope experiment. So she cut the ice in half and had us put the samples in a sealed bag, collecting a total of 5-6 ice samples. The last core sample, for a microplastics experiment, that Cynthia and Jacob took was about a meter or two away from the previous one.
Working as a team made this ice core sampling efficient. When we finished, we made sure that everything was packed up, and then we got to have some fun, drink out of a melt pond, and take some nice pictures of us looking cool…or at least trying to! Now, when someone asks me what I did in the Arctic I can say, “I stood on an ice floe!” and “I learned how to collect ice core samples.”
It was a wonderful learning experience, and I would love to do it again someday in the future!
P.S. – I took a nap once we were back on the Oden, and I slept like a baby!

Comments 1

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    It seems like it would be kind of gratifying to drill down and get the ice and get the pieces into bags! How fun is that! Wow!

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