Hot water drilling on Livingston Island, Antarctic Peninsula, 2015

Livingston Island is located near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The land is covered by ice for most of the part, which forms ice caps and numbers of outlet glaciers. Under the influence of warming temperature conditions, glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula region are thought to be rapidly changing. However, detailed studies have been performed only a limited number of glaciers.
Johnsons and Hurd Glaciers on Livingston Island have been studied by Spanish glaciologists since the establishment of Juan Carlos I Station on Livingston Island in 1988. Ice thickness was surveyed in detail and surface mass blance has been monitored for the last decade. The glaciers are losing ice mass, but the rate of the mass loss is decreasing under the influence of increasing precipitation. To better understand the complex evolution of the glaciers in this region, information on ice temperature and subglacial conditions are crucial as they control dynamics of ice.
To study the englacial and subglacial conditions of Johnsons and Hurd Glaciers, we collaborated with Prof. Francisco Navarro from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid for hot water drilling in January 2015. With a lot of effort made by the project team as well as all the members in Juan Carlos I Station, we drilled five boreholes and installed sensors for ice temperature and subglacial water pressure.

Glacier research activity

Juan Carlos I Station

Nature on Livingston Island

Journey to Antarctica

People on the island