ANDRILL: ANtarctic geological DRILLing
CH project scientific objectives
CH project drilling strategy
CH project surveys
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Coulman High Project (CHP)
ANDRILL intends to drill in the Coulman High near the seaward edge of the Ross Ice Shelf (see CHP scientific objectives). Two sites were identified on high resolution seismic profiles collected in 2003 following the calving event of the giant iceberg C-19. Proposed drill sites will target an early Miocene section draped over a faulted basement that contains older Cenozoic strata. Recovery of the targeted strata will provide a new, high-quality stratigraphic record from a period when atmospheric CO2 was comparable to concentrations projected for the next century.
The CHP proposes to better understand:
• How the Antarctic region responded to elevated levels of atmospheric CO2,
• How ice sheets behaved in the warmer climates, and

• When West Antarctica rifted out and sank beneath the sea.

Innovative drilling techniques have been designed to accommodate the northward movement of the Ice Shelf over the sites at about 2 meters/day. Preparatory work since the marine surveys has included airborne and ground-based radar to map the ice shelf thickness and locate any breaks. In the 2010-11 season ANDRILL conducted extensive surveys at the sites including GPS tracking of the Ice Shelf movement and tidal response. Several holes were melted through the 260 meter-thick shelf and were used for monitoring of the ocean currents below and to provide access for bottom sampling.
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An international consortium is being formed and funding is being requested. Drilling is planned for 2016-2018.