Casting of underground caves a success!! – University of Copenhagen

16 May 2016

Casting of underground caves a success!!

Monday 16th of May 2016

The symbol of today: A nice hole in the ground (top of our elevator shaft).

Today was the anxiously awaited – and somewhat feared – day of revelations. Since we buried the balloons Thursday night, the only thing we knew was, that we were able to pump air into balloons and maintain pressure.

Today, we reversed the pumps and deflated them. The first to collapse was the vertical elevator shaft ballon, and soon it was just a wrinkled carpet at the bottom of a deep and beautiful circular hole (we took care not to fall in). In the bottom at the sides, two holes revealed where the tips of the two neighbouring balloons had been. Very quickly chopped the holes larger and gained access to two caves with a collapsed balloon on the floor.

As we went deeper, we subsequently gained access to another cave and two tunnels. All caves are in a good state, and all we need to do now is to remove the balloons and clear away extra snow. First stage of trench construction is a success. In a few days, we will begin casting of the much less complicated drill trench, staircase shaft and ramp. But right now, we are happy with the outcome.

What we have done today:

  1. Deflating balloons and exploring caves.
  2. The traverse has reached the winter depot and is on the way back.
  3. Lid/floor for the elevator installed on top of elevator shaft.
  4. Receiving Twin Otter flight from Summit with Abdalati group.
  5. Excavated two heavy sleds and two fuel tanks and arranged them in a  train.

Ad. 1: It took about 4 hours to deflate the balloons. The first to collapse were the elevator shaft and the final storage, and we gained early entry to the tunnels.
Ad.2: At 1830 the traverse had lined all sleds up and was ready to haul them to EGRIP.
Ad.3: As planned, we had a visit form a U.S. research team that came to maintain a measurement station here at NEEM. It was a short visit, from 1000 to 1700, but they got their job done. After the visit the team returned to Summit.

Weather today: Clear, haze in the morning. Temp. –19 °C to -30 °C, Wind 12 kt from W. Visibility: to horizon.

FL, J.P. Steffensen

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Extra pictures:

Malte is cutting a doorway between the core buffer (front) and science trench (back).


Malte is cutting a door way while J.P. and Joel are watching.


Christian is negotiating the half deflated balloon of the science trench.


Joel in the "small" room opposite the elevator that will serve as the cooks freezer and final ice core box storage.


A view from the bottom of the elevator shaft. Counter clockwise:Christian, Joel and Sepp.


Joel, Christian, Kaitlin and Malte at "the hole", the top of the elevator shaft.


impressions from the 35 m long and 5 m diameter science trench.


impressions from the 35 m long and 5 m diameter science trench.


The future passage between drill and science trench.


The future ice core logging tunnel.