Probe Technology for the Direct Measurement and Sampling of Ellsworth Subglacial Lake

Matthew C. Mowlem*, Maria Nefeli Tsaloglou, Edward M. Waugh, Cedric F.A. Floquet, Kevin Saw, Lee Fowler, Robin Brown, David Pearce, James B. Wyatt, Alexander D. Beaton, Mario P. Brito, Dominic A. Hodgson, Gwyn Griffiths, M. Bentley, D. Blake, L. Capper, R. Clarke, C. Cockell, H. Corr, W. HarrisC. Hill, R. Hindmarsh, E. King, H. Lamb, B. Maher, K. Makinson, J. Parnell, J. Priscu, A. Rivera, N. Ross, M. J. Siegert, A. Smith, A. Tait, M. Tranter, J. Wadham, B. Whalley, J. Woodward

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (SciVal)


The direct measurement and sampling of Ellsworth Subglacial Lake is a multidisciplinary investigation of life in extreme environments and West Antarctic ice sheet history. The project's aims are (1) to determine whether, and in what form, microbial life exists in Antarctic subglacial lakes and (2) to reveal the post-Pliocene history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. A U.K. consortium has planned an extensive logistics and equipment development program that will deliver the necessary resources. This will include hot water drill technology for lake access through approximately 3.2 km of ice, a probe to make measurements with sensors and to collect water and sediment samples, and a percussion corer to acquire an ~3-4 m sediment core. This chapter details the requirements and early stages of design and development of the probe system. This includes the instrumentation package, water samplers, and a mini gravity corer mounted on the front of the probe. Initial design concepts for supporting equipment required at the drill site to deploy and operate the probe are also described. A review of the literature describing relevant technology is presented. The project will implement environmental protection in line with principles set out by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAntarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments
EditorsMartin J. Siegert, Mahlon C. Kennicutt II
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781118670354
ISBN (Print)9781118670354, 9780875904825
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2011


  • Aquatic ecology-Antarctica
  • Ellsworth
  • Remotelyoperatedvehicle
  • Sampler
  • Sensors
  • Sterile
  • Subglacial
  • Subglacial lakes-Antarctica-Discovery and exploration
  • Subglacial lakes-Antarctica-History
  • Subglacial lakes-Polar regions-Discovery and exploration
  • Subglacial lakes-Polar regions-History


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