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The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) Project accessed Mercer Subglacial Lake using environmentally clean hot-water drilling to examine interactions among ice, water, sediment, rock, microbes and carbon reservoirs within the lake water column and underlying sediments. A ~0.4 m diameter borehole was melted through 1087 m of ice and maintained over ~10 days, allowing observation of ice properties and collection of water and sediment with various tools. Over this period, SALSA collected: 60 L of lake water and 10 L of deep borehole water; microbes >0.2 μm in diameter from in situ filtration of ~100 L of lake water; 10 multicores 0.32–0.49 m long; 1.0 and 1.76 m long gravity cores; three conductivity–temperature–depth profiles of borehole and lake water; five discrete depth current meter measurements in the lake and images of ice, the lake water–ice interface and lake sediments. Temperature and conductivity data showed the hydrodynamic character of water mixing between the borehole and lake after entry. Models simulating melting of the ~6 m thick basal accreted ice layer imply that debris fall-out through the ~15 m water column to the lake sediments from borehole melting had little effect on the stratigraphy of surficial sediment cores.
Outcome analyses in large administrative databases are ideal for rare diseases such as Becker and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Unfortunately, Becker and Duchenne do not yet have specific International Classification of Disease-9/-10 codes. We hypothesised that an algorithm could accurately identify these patients within administrative data and improve assessment of cardiovascular morbidity.
Hospital discharges (n=13,189) for patients with muscular dystrophy classified by International Classification of Disease-9 code: 359.1 were identified from the Pediatric Health Information System database. An identification algorithm was created and then validated at three institutions. Multi-variable generalised linear mixed-effects models were used to estimate the associations of length of stay, hospitalisation cost, and 14-day readmission with age, encounter severity, and respiratory disease accounting for clustering within the hospital.
The identification algorithm improved identification of patients with Becker and Duchenne from 55% (code 359.1 alone) to 77%. On bi-variate analysis, left ventricular dysfunction and arrhythmia were associated with increased cost of hospitalisation, length of stay, and mortality (p<0.001). After adjustment, Becker and Duchenne patients with left ventricular dysfunction and arrhythmia had increased length of stay with rate ratio 1.4 and 1.2 (p<0.001 and p=0.004) and increased cost of hospitalization with rate ratio 1.4 and 1.4 (both p<0.001).
Our algorithm accurately identifies patients with Becker and Duchenne and can be used for future analysis of administrative data. Our analysis demonstrates the significant effects of cardiovascular disease on length of stay and hospitalisation cost in patients with Becker and Duchenne. Better recognition of the contribution of cardiovascular disease during hospitalisation with earlier more intensive evaluation and therapy may help improve outcomes in this patient population.
The WISSARD (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling) traversable hot-water drill system was designed to create various-diameter ice boreholes to a depth of >800 m, with most major components being controllable from a single user interface. The drill control system operates four low-pressure pumps for water generation and circulation, two hot-water generation units containing a total of six diesel burner modules with integrated high-pressure pumps, three winches (one with independent level-wind motor), a four-motor linear traction drive, and a large number of analog and digital sensors to monitor system performance and cleanliness. Due to development time constraints the control system design focused on utilizing commercial off-the-shelf components, while being highly modular, easily expandable and rapidly deployable. Additional emphasis was placed on providing redundant manual operator controls and maintaining a low degree of system automation to avoid dependence on software control loops for first-season deployment. The result of this design paradigm was a control system that was taken from concept to full operation in <6 months, successfully performing in the field without insurmountable problems.
A new, clean, hot-water drill system (HWDS) was developed by the Science Management Office, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, for use in the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project to gain access to Subglacial Lake Whillans beneath ∼800 m of ice in West Antarctica. One primary borehole was drilled into the basal ice environment of Subglacial Lake Whillans during the initial field season in 2012/13. This paper describes the process of designing, fabricating, assembling, shipping, testing, commissioning and traversing the WISSARD HWDS leading up to the first scientific use of the system.
A clean hot-water drill was used to gain access to Subglacial Lake Whillans (SLW) in late January 2013 as part of the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project. Over 3 days, we deployed an array of scientific tools through the SLW borehole: a downhole camera, a conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) probe, a Niskin water sampler, an in situ filtration unit, three different sediment corers, a geothermal probe and a geophysical sensor string. Our observations confirm the existence of a subglacial water reservoir whose presence was previously inferred from satellite altimetry and surface geophysics. Subglacial water is about two orders of magnitude less saline than sea water (0.37–0.41 psu vs 35 psu) and two orders of magnitude more saline than pure drill meltwater (<0.002 psu). It reaches a minimum temperature of –0.55~C, consistent with depression of the freezing point by 7.019 MPa of water pressure. Subglacial water was turbid and remained turbid following filtration through 0.45 µm filters. The recovered sediment cores, which sampled down to 0.8 m below the lake bottom, contained a macroscopically structureless diamicton with shear strength between 2 and 6 kPa. Our main operational recommendation for future subglacial access through water-filled boreholes is to supply enough heat to the top of the borehole to keep it from freezing.