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Probe technologies for clean sampling and measurement of subglacial lakes
Mowlem, M.; Saw, K.; Brown, R.; Waugh, E.; Cardwell, C.L.; Wyatt, J.; Magiopoulos, I.; Keen, P.; Campbell, J.; Rundle, N.; Gkritzalis-Papadopoulos, T. (2016). Probe technologies for clean sampling and measurement of subglacial lakes. Philos. Trans. - Royal Soc., Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. 374(2059): 20150267. https://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2015.0267
In: Philosophical Transactions - Royal Society. Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. Royal Society: London. ISSN 1364-503X; e-ISSN 1471-2962, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Mowlem, M.
  • Saw, K.
  • Brown, R.
  • Waugh, E.
  • Cardwell, C.L.
  • Wyatt, J.
  • Magiopoulos, I.
  • Keen, P.
  • Campbell, J.
  • Rundle, N.
  • Gkritzalis-Papadopoulos, T., more

    It is 4 years since the subglacial lake community published its plans for accessing, sampling, measuring and studying the pristine, and hitherto enigmatic and very different, Antarctic subglacial lakes, Vostok, Whillans and Ellsworth. This paper summarizes the contrasting probe technologies designed for each of these subglacial environments and briefly updates how these designs changed or were used differently when compared to previously published plans. A detailed update on the final engineering design and technical aspects of the probe for Subglacial Lake Ellsworth is presented. This probe is designed for clean access, is negatively buoyant (350 kg), 5.2 m long, 200 mm in diameter, approximately cylindrical and consists of five major units: (i) an upper power and communications unit attached to an optical and electrical conducting tether, (ii)–(iv) three water and particle samplers, and (v) a sensors, imaging and instrumentation pack tipped with a miniature sediment corer. To date, only in Subglacial Lake Whillans have instruments been successfully deployed. Probe technologies for Subglacial Lake Vostok (2014/15) and Lake Ellsworth (2012/13) were not deployed for technical reasons, in the case of Lake Ellsworth because hot-water drilling was unable to access the lake during the field season window. Lessons learned and opportunities for probe technologies in future subglacial access missions are discussed.

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