Antarctic Ice Sheet Studies

What Are They Doing?

Mr. Gillette and a team of researchers and technicians from the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) spent two months documenting conditions at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) divide using a variety of techniques, including weather observations, GPS, ice coring, radar, and seismic sensing. The team characterized the base of the ice sheet by determining, for example, the amount of water and sediments under the ice, which were used to help interpret ice core data. Similar measurements over time contributed to an improved understanding of, and ability to predict, the impact of changes in polar ice sheets on sea level and climate. Additional information about this project can be found at the project website.

Where Are They?

The research team worked at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) drill site, in western Antarctica. The WAIS divide sits on top of 3,485 meters of ice, thicker than 9 Empire State Buildings stacked on top of one another! The WAIS is classified as a marine-based ice sheet, meaning that its bed lies well below sea level and its edges flow into floating ice shelves. The WAIS is bounded by the Ross Ice Shelf, the Ronne Ice Shelf, and outlet glaciers that drain into the Amundsen Sea.

Expedition Map


Special Guest, Melanie Miller Hello all!   I know it's been a long time since any of you have heard from me... I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, just ventured back south for another season at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.  I got a new job this season, which has been a great change!  I'm a Load Planner, which basically means that I figure out what cargo goes on flights to field camps (including South Pole) and north to Christchurch, New Zealand, and then plan out the best way to fit it on the plane so that it balances properly to fly.  Luckily, as part of this job, I went to an...
With the trip to Antarctica a year in the past, I have had more than enough time to reflect, get a new job, travel, reflect some more, and think of ideas for how to spread the word about the program and polar research in general.  I'd have to say that things have been quite successful! The weekend before Thanksgiving I had the opportunity to travel to Portland, OR with some of the CReSIS team and speak on behalf of PolarTREC.  Our session focused on the work CReSIS was doing in Greenland and Antarctica as well as the work PolarTREC has done to increase awareness of polar science.  There were...
We are home, safe and sound! I apologize for the delay in posting a wrap-up journal. I came home to some family matters that needed some attention and then it was time to head back to school. This journal serves to reflect a little bit on the time in Antarctica, and hopefully provide a few other avenues for continued outreach should it be of interest. The trip as a whole has to rank at the top of a growing list of life experiences. It all started in New Zealand and technically still hasn't ended, and I loved/am loving every second of it! I'll provide a few pictures for your viewing...
As my time wraps up here in Antarctica, I’d like to take a moment to reflect back on all the things that have happened.  While not much data was collected during my time, if you have been reading the journals, you’ll know that there has been more than enough stuff to write about.  The people, the research project, the team, the food, the facilities and of course the weather.  All too much about the weather.   The people have been amazing, with so many stories from the ice and from home.  The research projects they are working on promise to enlighten the way we look at the world around us,...
We finally caught a flight to McMurdo from WAIS yesterday afternoon, but it wasn't all a simple flight back. The plane landed around 11:30am and was bringing fuel and freshies (fresh fruits and veggies) to the field camp. Once the fueling was complete it was time to board the plane. I was able to sit in the cockpit for the duration of the flight which was very nice to the take-off portion. After taxiing to the end of the ski way we got turned about the hit the throttle. After attempting to take off twice the pilot set the nose back on the ground and proceeded to turn around and try again. The...

Expedition Resources

Project Information

26 November 2007 to 1 January 2008
Location: West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), Antarctica
Project Funded Title: Surveying Conditions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Meet the Team

Brandon Gillette's picture
University of Kansas and the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS)
Lawrence, KS
United States

Brandon Gillette completed his undergraduate work at the University of Kansas in 2004 and his Masters of Education in 2006. For the past five years, he has taught junior high school and high school science in Olathe, Kansas. Mr. Gillette first worked with CReSIS in 2007-2008 as part of the PolarTREC program, partnering with scientists to spend five weeks in Antarctica as part of the [Antarctica Ice Sheet Studies Expedition](

Mr. Gillette recently joined the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) and has returned to the University of Kansas as an education graduate research assistant where he has begun work on a PhD in geography and environmental science with an emphasis in GIS and remote sensing. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and dog, traveling, and playing recreational sports, and will be running his first marathon in October 2010!

Stephen Ingalls's picture
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS
United States

Stephen Ingalls is the Associate Director for Administration at the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), headquartered at the University of Kansas. Dr. Ingalls’s responsibilities include the day-to-day management of the Center’s activities and daily oversight of the Center's education and knowledge transfer programs. He hopes that PolarTREC will expand the network of educators that can help motivate the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

Sridhar Anandakrishnan's picture
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA
United States

Sridhar Anandakrishnan is an Associate Professor at Penn State University in the Department of Geosciences and in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Institute. Dr. Anandakrishnan's research interests include studies of ice sheet stability and history, glacier flow dynamics, and the influence of crustal structure on Antarctic ice sheets. Dr. Anandakrishnan hopes that PolarTREC can help introduce students and the public to the role of Antarctica in the global system.

Huw Horgan's picture
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA
United States

Huw Horgan is a PhD Candidate at Penn State University in the Department of Geosciences and is a member of the Penn State Ice and Climate group and CReSIS. Studying under Dr. Anandakrishnan, Huw Horgan's thesis addresses the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet using remote sensing and seismic techniques. Huw lead the field team and accompanyed Mr. Gilette to Antarctica.