Breaking the Ice in Madison

September 6, 2013 | Mark Hobson

The 7th International Workshop on Ice Drilling Technology comes to the Pyle Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus September 9-13, 2013. The Space Science and Engineering Center’s Ice Drilling Design and Operations (IDDO) team and the Ice Drilling Program Office (IDPO), which collaborates with IDDO in running the U.S. Ice Drilling Program, teamed with the Workshop Organizing Committee to sponsor the event.

workshop logo

Truly an international gathering, the Workshop welcomes over 100 attendees from France, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Korea, Germany, Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States.

“What this is about,” says Tony Wendricks, SSEC Project Coordinator and one of the event’s organizers, “is the free flow and exchange of information. This is a gathering of the engineers who design these drills; whose innovations enable all different styles of ice drilling.”

In the seven years since the last International Workshop, ice drilling technology has seen significant advancements, including the breakthrough performance of the IDDO team’s replicate ice coring drill.

The ice sheets of Earth’s polar regions hold evidence of the planet’s past atmospheric conditions. By studying ice cores brought up from the depths, scientists are obtaining data on thousands of years worth of greenhouse gas accumulations and learning more about times of climate change in the past.

Over the four days of the Workshop, 59 oral presentations will provide a comprehensive overview of the latest innovations in ice drilling technology, including ice coring, replicate sampling, subglacial sampling, core logging and handling, and field logistics. Along with a poster session boasting 36 presentations, the Workshop is geared to promote an exchange of ideas, strategies, accomplishments, and experience among the attendees.

iddo and nicl teams

IDDO drill crew and National Ice Core Laboratory handlers at the WAIS Divide, Antarctica. Photo courtesy of SSEC.

“We’re proud to host this event,” Wendrick says. “IDDO is a world-class group of engineers doing world-class work in the ice drilling field. This meeting was planned before the success of our replicate drill, so we are really looking forward to sharing our expertise with the entire ice drilling community. It’s one big advance in a field that is seeing many such advances.”