Exploring the unseen West Antarctic coastline - NIU
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Exploring the unseen West Antarctic coastline


Led by Northern Illinois University geology professor Ross Powell, a team of American scientists has for the first time directly explored the coastline, or grounding zone, where the massive West Antarctic Ice Sheet atop land meets the Ross Sea.

The National Science Foundation supported the effort to drill through about a half mile of ice, peer into an aquatic world never before seen and analyze its iced-over coastline. The work was part of a multi-year project known as WISSARD, for Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling.

In addition to Powell and geologist Reed Scherer, three NIU students were involved in the Antarctic expedition.