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Polar Programs

AGAP Project Reveals Details of Hidden Antarctic Mountain Range


PASSCAL's Polar Group supported AGAP deployments in one of the most extreme polar environments on the planet.

Results are now emerging from the AGAP Project, funded by the National Science Foundation through its Office of Polar Programs. AGAP, which stands for Antarctica's Gamburtsev Province, has been probing the Gamburtsev mountain range for years. These mountains, completely covered by Antarctic ice, were not even discovered until 1958. New data now coming out are showing that these mountains have a youthful topography much like that of the Alps in Europe, and have not been weathered significantly.  Furthermore, the history of the root of the range can now be tracked back to one billion years in the past, with major rejuvenation events in the Permian and Cretaceous periods (~250 and 100 million years ago respectively). One reason the Gamburtsev range is important is that it is believed to be the initial site of Antarctic ice-sheet growth during major climatic changes some 35 million years ago.

Researchers Andy Nyblade of Penn State and Douglas Wiens and Patrick Shore of Washington University in St. Louis are part of the seismic portion of the project, called GamSeis. The IRIS/PASSCAL Instrument Center provided an array of broadband seismic stations used for the project by Wiens and Shore, along with Penn State's Nyblade, and Masaki Kanao of the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR).

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PASSCAL's Polar Group Revs Up for Antarctic Summer

This is the time of year when the Polar group at PASSCAL is busy deploying teams to the Antarctic. Since polar conditions make for difficult site installations, PASSCAL is pleased to present the following instructive videos of Antarctic station deployments.

Courtesy of Audrey Huerta of Central Washington University, here is a time-lapse video of the difficult installation of a POLENET seismic system on a rock surface at Miller Ridge in the Transantarctic Mountains. This installation took about 4 hours in real-time. You will see shadows encroaching as the sun sets toward the end of the four-minute video.

7th annual Polar Technology Conference coming to Albuquerque in March 2011

The 7th annual Polar Technology Conference will be hosted by IRIS/PASSCAL on 24-25 March 2011, at the Albuquerque Marriott, 2101 Louisiana Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110 USA. The primary purpose of this conference is to bring together Polar Scientists and Technology Developers in a forum to exchange information on research system operational needs and technology solutions that have been successful in polar environments.  This exchange of knowledge helps to address issues of design, implementation, and deployment for systems that are to achieve their research goals in the Polar Regions.

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SEIS-UK joins IRIS/PASSCAL on Support Effort for Antarctic Projects



SEIS-UK Director Dr. Alex Brisbourne accompanies the staff of the PASSCAL Instrument Center  to gain experience working in polar environments while supporting the POLENET and Whillans Ice Sheet projects for a month and a half during this year's field season.

Solar Panel Mounts Drawings

 Solar Panel Mount Drawings Angle Mount: 2x 80 Watt Solar Panels 7' x 4' x 6' 6" deployed 7' x 4' x 6" folded for transport 130 lbs complete Rock or snow deployment   Detailed Drawings Angle Mount rev C:  Assembly with BOM Rock Site Station


Insulated Sensor Vault Drawings

Vault Equipment Drawings Vault Double wall UV resistant polyethylene shell 2" thick indexed phenolic sensor base 3" thick polystyrene insulation Trillium 240 or Guralp T3 seismometers Detailed Drawings 3" Thick Insulation 2" Thick Indexed Phenolic Base Double Wall UV Resistant Polyethylene Shell

Station Enclosure Drawings

Station Enclosure Drawings   Large Enclosure:  Insulated Hardigg AL3434-2807 External dimensions:  37" x 37" x 37" Internal dimensions:  24" x 24" x 21" 2" thick vacuum insulation panel (VIP) sub-enclosure Protective polypropylene barrier between VIPs and electronics Integrated cable harness with external bulkhead connectors Year round operation with rechargeable AGM batteries   Detailed Drawings Hardigg AL3434-2807 Insulated:  Assembly Drawing with BOM

Polar Design Drawings

PASSCAL's strategy for designing cold-hardened seismic systems is driven by the need to maximize heat efficiency and minimize payload while maintaining continuous recording throughout the Polar winter. Our design is for a basic 2W autonomous system. Power is provided by a primary Lithium Thionyl Chloride battery pack and is backed by a secondary, solar charged AGM battery pack. Station enclosures are heavily insulated and rely on instrument generated heat to keep the dataloggers within operating specification. Although insulated, broadband sensors are operated close to ambient temperature.

Mt. Erebus Volcano Observatory (MEVO) Experiment 2008-2009

Brian Bonnett installs a MEVO station.

The PASSCAL Polar Program supported MEVO experiment was a seismic refraction experiment designed to image the magma chamber of the Mt. Erebus volcano in Antarctica. The Principle Investigators (PI's) and primary researchers involved with this experiment were Dr. Phillip Kyle, Dr. Richard Aster, Dr. Catherine Snelson, Dr. Daria Zandomeneghi and Hunter Knox. The project was funded through a grant awarded to the PI's by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. A paper that discusses this experiment has been published in EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union entitled: “Seismic Tomography of Erebus Volcano, Antarctica” authored by Zandomeneghi et al. (See the end of the article for details.)

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