Imporant updates about the Hercules Dome ice core

  • Project News

We have some updates regarding Hercules Dome.

The good news is that as of today, we are still "on schedule". There is always potential for further delay, depending in part how this year’s Antarctic field operations go, but the following is the current plan and guidance from conversations with NSF.

The key step in this process is getting an Operations (Ops) Notice, which we expect this coming summer (2024). Once the Ops Notice happens, then things start in motion again – literally in the sense that the FORO3000 drill will be shipped to Antarctica this year, and a traverse from McMurdo will be driving to Hercules Dome in the 2025/2026 season.

There are some important deadlines and target dates associated with this plan.

January 2024: For anyone considering a proposal requiring field work at Hercules Dome, we advise submitting a fieldwork concept outline this coming January, particularly if you are hoping to start field work as early as 2025/2026 or 2026/2027. We expect the NSF deadline to be January 15th, less than a month away. See last year's solicitation (other than the submission dates, this is not expected to change):

If you are interested specifically in firn-process work, a group led by Murat Aydin will be submitting a concept outline for shallow coring and firn-gas extraction near the main drill site. You do not need to be part of the concept outline in order to be part of the eventual proposal.

June 2024: Proposals involving fieldwork can be submitted, if the Concept Outline is given the go-ahead by NSF.

Spring 2025: For ice-core analysis proposals, we anticipate that ice will return from the field in spring 2027; thus, proposals for analysis on the main ice core are encouraged no earlier than 2025.

As you consider proposals that you may wish to submit, keep in mind that the great innovations and discoveries in US ice core science since at least the time of GISP2 reflect the work of many PIs and students from multiple groups, funded independently but working collaboratively towards the common goal of maximizing scientific return. Along with NSF, we will be encouraging proposals from a broad range of institutions. Proposals that try to do everything in one laboratory are discouraged. This becomes all the more important as we also try to encourage broader participation.

Finally, a reminder that the Hercules Dome project is supporting the annual US Ice Core Open Science Meeting, May 15-17, 2024, in Portland, Maine. This will be an opportunity to coordinate with colleagues on potential Hercules Dome proposals for the following year. We expect to host additional zoom/webinars once the logistical plans come into clearer focus.

Although it is the holidays, we’re happy to talk with you if you have questions about any of this. And we wish you a happy and restful holiday season.

Eric Steig, Murray Aydin, TJ Fudge, Joe Souney, Heidi Roop, Mark Twickler