The purpose of this fieldwork is to find out the best possible ice core drilling sites in New Zealand. We are preparing for the first of two drilling seasons, starting in June 2009. What we are doing is flying up to several high glaciers in the Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park with a ground penetrating radar (GPR) to measure the ice depth and bedrock configuration. We are looking for cold, deep, stable, flat ice with no crevasses.
Brian Anderson, a glaciologist at Victoria University is in charge of this field work. Other participants are Matt Watson – an ice radar specialist, Lawrence Kees – a Masters student at VUW, and myself. I am here to be involved in the site selection and learn as much as possible about the places that we choose to drill. It is my job to organise all the equipment, tents and food that the drill team will need for working at some very remote and wild places in the mountains in the middle of winter. – and the drilling is happening less than a month from now.
We met up in Christchurch and drove immediately to Mount Cook village. The view of the mountains across Lake Pukaki was impressive, with the white winter snow covering reflected in the mirror like water.