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McMurdo-ANDRILL Science Implementation Committee (M-ASIC) and ANDRILL Science Committee (ASC)

ANDRILL's 2nd Antarctic drilling season exceeds all expectations

Released on 11/28/2007, at 12:01 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

McMurdo Station, Antarctica, November 28, 2007 -- A second season in Antarctica for the Antarctic Geological Drilling (ANDRILL) Program has exceeded all expectations, according to the co-chief scientists of the program's Southern McMurdo Sound Project.

SMS On-Ice Report #6 - Nov. 26, 2007

November 26, 2007

The drilling team drilled down across the 1,000 meter depth mark on 21 November and completed coring with the HQ size drilling string (the middle-size drill pipe; diameter 6.12 cm) to a depth of 1011.08 meters. Core recovery continues to be very high, up to 98% of the cored interval! There is a lot of core to describe, sample and curate, and it just keeps coming up.

Emperors at drill site
Emperor penguins pay a visit to the drill site (photo: C. Millan)

SMS On-Ice Report #5 - Nov. 19, 2007

November 19, 2007

This week started with the drill bit at a depth of 669.74 meters below sea-floor (mbsf). Core recovery continues to be excellent, usually above 98%. The core displays alternating diamictite with intervening muddy sandstone with variable clasts and interlaminated facies. Macrofossils are sparse (mollusk shells and serpulid worm fragments) and diatoms continue to be present through this depth, their preservation is perhaps aided by silica from encompassing volcanic-rich sediments. Two horizons of c. 2-3 cm-thick pumice lapilli erupted from local volcanoes may be excellent sources of radiogenic ages to help date the SMS core. We anticipate that drilling will continue with the HQ size drill-string until approximately 21 November when the geophysical logging team will then begin their downhole data collection activities. At the end of nightshift, November 19, the HQ drill bit is at 931.16 mbsf.

Dry Valley area
Dry Valley area and Transantarctic Mountains in relation to the SMS drillsite. (Image by Robert Simmon, based on data provided by the NASA GSFC Oceans and Ice Branch and the Landsat 7 Science Team)

ANDRILL Media Guide

ANDRILL Media Guide
Updated Nov. 1, 2007

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SMS On-Ice Report #2 - Oct. 28, 2007

October 28, 2007
Drill Site from Helo
Helicopter view of the ANDRILL drilling rig and science laboratories with the Transantarctic Mountains in the distance. Under the white tent is the drilling rig tower and rig floor, where all rig operations take place (photo: H. Godfrey).


The first phase of ANDRILL sediment coring is proceeding very well and the sea-riser has been successfully and firmly anchored into the sea-floor. The sea-riser is a long tube which allows for drilling fluids to be circulated from the drill rig down to the drilling bit, which is cutting through the sedimentary rocks. The current depth of penetration is about 229 meters below the sea floor.

SMS On-Ice Report #1 - Oct. 21, 2007

October 21, 2007
Drill Rig
ANDRILL drilling rig and Mt. Erebus active volcano in the distance (photo: S. Nielsen)


Welcome to ANDRILL! This is the first in a series of weekly updates from McMurdo Station by the Co-Chief Scientists to report on the progress and activities of the ANDRILL Southern McMurdo Sound (SMS) Project. This report will be a bit longer than future reports, because we summarize the activities of the first 3 weeks, starting from October 4. It has been busy here, but we are now well underway and advancing the drillstring downward and recovering sediment core!

Join the Journey to Antarctica!

Project Iceberg

Use ANDRILL as an exciting, integrative part of your classroom.

Follow the research of an international team of scientists and educators from Germany, Italy, New Zealand and the United States as they recover stratigraphic records from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

Six educators from the multi-national ARISE (ANDRILL Research Immersion for Science Educators) team have brought exciting real-world science into your classroom through interactive blogging, video journals, photo collections, and engaging materials produced on the ice with ANDRILL scientists during the October- January drilling season.

Join us as we travel to the coldest, windiest, driest place on earth to study the amazing geologic stories that Antarctica has to tell. Check out the ANDRILL Project Iceberg website at

We invite you to join us on this exciting adventure. See you there!

Southern McMurdo Sound Project Underway

SMS LogoDuring the austral summer of 2007 the ANDRILL Program is drilling from a sea-ice platform in Southern McMurdo Sound to obtain new information about the Neogene Antarctic cryosphere and evolution of Antarctic rift basins. A team of more than 56 on-ice scientists, engineers, technicians, students and educators are engaged in the recovery and study of sediment and rock cores recovered by drilling below the seafloor from a sea-ice platform supporting the drill rig and field camp. Additional work to characterize these cores is conducted by the ANDRILL team in the Crary Laboratory of McMurdo Station, and by groups of collaborators off-ice, working in their home institutions.

Southern McMurdo Sound (SMS) Project

The key aim of the SMS Project is to establish a robust history of past Antarctic ice sheet variation and climate evolution that can be integrated into continental and global records toward a better understanding of East Antarctica’s role in the past, present, and future global system. To achieve this aim, one ~1000 meter-deep drillcore will sample an inferred Miocene (0-17 million years ago) and younger sequence of seismic units that expand into the Victoria Land Basin. A new history of land vegetation and sea-ice cover will feed new data into glacial and climate models.

Co-Chief Scientists

harwood Dr. David Harwood

harwood Dr. Fabio Florindo

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