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A deep ice core was drilled at Dome A, Antarctic Plateau, East Antarctica, which started with the installation of a casing in January 2012 and reached 800.8 m in January 2017. To date, a total of 337 successful ice-core drilling runs have been conducted, including 118 runs to drill the pilot hole. The total drilling time was 52 days, of which eight days were required for drilling down and reaming the pilot hole, and 44 days for deep ice coring. The average penetration depths of individual runs were 1 and 3.1 m for the pilot hole drilling and deep ice coring, respectively. The quality of the ice cores was imperfect in the brittle zone (650−800 m). Some of the troubles encountered are discussed for reference, such as armoured cable knotting, screws falling into the hole bottom, and damaged parts, among others.
Ice-core drilling to depths of 200–300 m is an important part of research studies concerned with paleoclimate reconstruction and anthropogenic climate change. However, conventional drilling methods face difficulties due to firn permeability. We have developed an electromechanical ice-core drill with air reverse circulation at the hole bottom. We believe that the new drilling system will recover ice cores faster than shallow auger drills, with high efficiency and low energy consumption. The theoretically estimated up-hole speed of the airflow should be not <7.7 m s−1 to allow proper removal of ice cuttings from the borehole bottom. The computer simulation and test results showed that the design of the new ice-coring drill is feasible. The maximum allowed penetration rate depends by square law on airflow.
This study presents an arsenic concentration time series from 1964–2009 at Dome Argus, Antarctica. The data show a very large increase in arsenic concentration from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s (by a factor of~22) compared with the values before the mid-1980s. This increase is likely to be related to the increased copper smelting in South America. Arsenic concentration then decreased in the late-1990s, most probably as a result of environmental regulations in South America. The sudden increase in arsenic concentration observed at Dome Argus coincides with similar increases observed at Dome Fuji and in Antarctica Ice Core-6 (IC-6) at the same time, suggesting that arsenic pollution during the period from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s was a regional phenomenon in Antarctica. Investigations of arsenic concentrations at these three Antarctic locations show that, during this time, regional arsenic distribution followed dust transport pathways associated with general climate models with South America as a major source region for the half of Antarctica facing the Atlantic and Indian oceans.
In 2007–08, seismologists began deploying passive seismic stations over much of the Antarctic ice sheet. These stations routinely log their position by navigation-grade global positioning system (GPS) receivers. This location data can be used to track the stations situated on moving ice. For stations along the traverse from Zhongshan station to Dome A in East Antarctica and at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet divide the estimated velocities of the ice surface based on positions recorded by navigation-grade GPS are consistent with those obtained by high-accuracy geodetic GPS. Most of the estimated velocities have an angle difference of <28° with the steepest downhill vector of the ice surface slope at the stations. These results indicate that navigation-grade GPS measurements over several months provide reliable information on ice sheet movement of ≥1 m yr-1. With an uncertainty of ~0.3–1 m yr-1, this method is able to resolve both very slow ice velocities near Dome A and velocities of >100 m yr-1 on Thwaites Glacier. Information on ice velocity at three locations for which no data from satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar are available have also been provided using this method.
The Chinese First Deep Ice-Core Drilling Project DK-1 has commenced at Kunlun station in the Dome A region, the highest plateau in Antarctica. During the first season, within the 28th Chinese National Antarctic Research Expedition (CHINARE) 2011/12 the pilot hole was drilled and reamed in order to install a 100 m deep fiberglass casing. In the next season, 29th CHINARE 2012/13, the deep ice-core drilling system was installed, and all the auxiliary equipment was connected and commissioned. After filling the hole with drilling fluid (n-butyl acetate), three runs of ‘wet’ ice-core drilling were carried out and a depth of 131.24 m was reached. Drilling to the bedrock at the target depth of ∼3100 m is planned to be completed during a further four seasons. We describe the work in progress and the status of equipment for the Dome A drilling project.
A detailed history of volcanism covering the last 2840 years is reconstructed from the top 100.42 m of a 109.91 m ice core from Dome A (DA2005 ice core), East Antarctica. Using two known volcanic stratigraphic markers, the mean accumulation rate during the period AD 1260-1964 is found to be 23.2 mmw.e. a-1, consistent with the previously reported accumulation rate at Dome A. This mean accumulation rate is used to date the entire core. Volcanic eruptions in the period 840 BC-AD1998 are detected as outstanding sulphate events. Seventy-eight eruptions are identified, with a mean of 2.7 eruptions per century. Comparisons with previous Antarctic ice-core volcanic records are made to assess the quality of this new DA2005 record. In terms of dates for volcanic events, the DA2005 record is in good agreement with previous records in the second millennium ad (ad 1000-1998). A series of volcanic signatures found in both the DA2005 record and several other Antarctic ice-core records in the first millennium ad (ad 1-1000) appear to validate the DA2005 record during this time period. For the older periods, direct comparisons are difficult between the DA2005 record and other Antarctic ice-core records due to the lack of well-dated stratigraphic horizons.
Stakes at 2 km intervals were installed in January 1997 and remeasured in February 1998, January 1999, January 2005 and during the 2007/08 austral summer along a 1248 km traverse route from Zhongshan station to Dome A, East Antarctica. Based on topographical parameters, meteorological features and the records of ∼650 stakes and six stake arrays, the route is divided into five zones. We find that the snow accumulation rate decreases with increasing altitude as one progresses inland, except in the zone 800–1128 km from the coast, where the average annual accumulation rate is higher than in the zone 524–800 km from the coast. The Dome A zone (1128–1248 km) has the lowest accumulation rate (35 kg m−2 a−1, 2005–08) due to having the highest elevation and being furthest from the coast. The surface mass balance in the region 202–1128 km from the coast exhibits no temporal change from 1999–2005 to 2005–08, but there is a change in the accumulation distribution. The zone from 202 to 524 km shows a decrease in surface mass balance from 84 kg m−2 a−1 in 1999–2005 to 67 kg m−2 a−1 in 2005–08, while the zone between 800 and 1128 km shows an increase from 67 kg m−2 a−1 in 1999–2005 to 75 kg m−2 a−1 in 2005–08.
The grain refinement effect of a pulsed magnetic field on superalloy IN718 was investigated. The experimental results show that fine equiaxed grains are acquired under the pulsed magnetic field. The refinement effect of the pulsed magnetic field is affected by the mold temperature. And the mixed grains are found in the solidified microstructures under the pulsed magnetic field. The origin of nuclei under the pulsed magnetic field is from the mold wall because of the rough mold surface, the undercooling, and the melt vibration, which all contribute to the refinement of solidified grains.
The refinement mechanism of pulsed magnetic field (PMF) was discussed by experimental investigation, and the effects of exciting frequency, exciting voltage, and delay time of PMF on grains refinement of superalloy were studied. The experimental results show that, as exciting frequency or exciting voltage is increased, the grains are refined. However, the grains become coarse when frequency increases further. As delay time of PMF increases, the grain size increases. The refinement effect of PMF is attributed to the detachment of heterogeneous nuclei on the mold wall and subsequently separation of nuclei in the melt. The Joule heat can prolong the continuous nucleation process. However, the refinement effect will be impaired if the Joule heat is strong enough to remelt the detached nuclei.
The grain refinement effect of a pulsed magnetic field on superalloy K417 was studied. The experimental results show that fine equiaxed grains are acquired with proper thermal control under the pulsed magnetic field. The refinement effect of the pulsed magnetic field is affected by the melt cooling rate and the melt superheating. The refinement effect of the pulsed magnetic field is attributed to the dissociation of nuclei from the mold wall by melt vibration and the subsequent dispersion of nuclei by melt convection. The Joule heat and the melt convection caused by the pulsed magnetic field may defer the formation of solidified shell, which prolongs the continuous refinement process. The decrease of melt cooling rate reduces the number of nuclei produced on the mold wall but prolongs the duration for the nuclei to depart from the mold wall and disperse in the melt, which enhances the refinement effect of the pulsed magnetic field. The increase of melt superheating lessens the survival probability of the nuclei in the melt, which weakens the refinement effect of the pulsed magnetic field.
Dome A, the highest point on the Antarctic ice sheet at just over 4000 ma.s.l., is located near the centre of East Antarctica. Chinese National Antarctic Research Expeditions have studied ice-sheet dynamics and mass balance along a traverse route from Zhongshan station to Dome A during the austral summers from 1996/97 to 2004/05. Nineteen GPS sites were occupied on at least two occasions at approximately 50 km intervals. The purpose of the surveys was to provide accurate ice-dynamics data. A dual-frequency GPS receiver was used and each site was occupied for 1–12 hours. GPS data were processed using GAMIT/GLOBK software, and horizontal accuracies were within 0.1 m. Repeat GPS measurements provided ice velocities. The horizontal surface ice velocities increase from the summit of the ice sheet to the coast. In the Dome A area, the velocities are <10ma–1; in the plateau area, velocities range from 8 to 24 ma–1 and reach about 98.2 ma–1 at a site (LT980) near the coast. The flow directions are roughly perpendicular to the ice-sheet surface elevation contours, primarily toward the Lambert Glacier basin.
An assessment of the glaciological and meteorological characteristics of Dome A, the summit of the East Antarctic ice sheet, is made based on field investigations during the austral summer of 2004/05. Knowledge of these characteristics is critical for future international studies such as deep ice-core drilling. The assessment shows that: (1) Dome A is characterized by a very low 10m depth firn temperature, –58.3˚C (nearly 3˚C lower than at EPICA Dome C and 1˚C lower than at Vostok). (2) Automatic weather station (AWS) measurements of snow surface height and reference layers in a snow pit indicate the present-day snow accumulation rate at Dome A is within the range 1–3cmw.e. a–1. Densification models suggest a range of 1–2cmw.e. a–1. This is lower than at other sites along the ice divide of East Antarctica (IDEA). Annual layers at Dome A are thus potentially thinner than at other sites, so that a longer record is preserved in a given ice thickness. (3) The average wind speed observed at Dome A (<4ms–1) is lower than at other sites along IDEA. Together, these parameters, combined with radio-echo sounding data and information on the subglacial drainage distribution beneath Dome A, suggest Dome A as a candidate site for obtaining the oldest ice core.
The Chinese National Antarctic Research Expedition (GHINARE) carried out three traverses from Zhongshan station to Dome A, Princess Elizabeth Land and Inaccessible Area, East Antarctic ice sheet, during the 1996/97 to 1998/99 Antarctic field seasons. The expeditions are part of the Chinese International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition program. In this project, glaciological investigations of mass balance, ice temperature, ice flow, stratigraphy in snow pits and snow/firn ice cores, as well as the glaciochemical study of surface snow and shallow ice cores, have been carried out. In the 1998/99 field season, CHINARE extended the traverse route to 1128 km inland from Zhongshan station. The density profiles show that firnification over Princess Elizabeth Land and Inaccessible Area (290–1100 km along the route) is fairly slow, and the accumulation rate recovered from snow pits along the initial 460 km of the route is 4.6–21 cm (46–210 kg m–2a–1 ) water equivalent. The initial 460 km of the route can be divided into four sections based on the differences of accumulation rate. This pattern approximately coincides with the study on the Lambert Glacier basin (LGB) by Australian scientists. During the past 50 years, the trends of both air temperature and accumulation rate show a slight increase in this area, in contrast to the west side of the LGB. Data on surface accumulation rates and their spatial and temporal variability over ice-drainage areas such as the LGB are essential for precise mass-balance calculation of the whole ice sheet, and are important for driving ice-sheet models and testing atmospheric models.
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