MacArtney Winch for Subglacial Lake Study
MacArtney has supplied the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) with a Cormac Q5 winch, specially upgraded to cope with extreme temperatures down to -30° C in the summer and customized to carry a 3,500-m cable.
The winch has been specially adapted to conduct electromechanical ice drilling and subglacial lake sampling in partnership with the British Antarctic Survey. The winch will be used in West Antarctica, where an 18 km2 subglacial lake has been identified by the Chilean research center, Centro de Estudios Científicos (CECs). The lake, named Lake CECs, is situated below the ice sheet, which has a thickness of 2,600 m at that location.
The winch is fitted with a power-and-data cable with conductors for ice drilling and can be spooled with 3,500 m of coated zylon tether for an ultraclean sampling of the lake. A percussion corer probe designed to recover up to 3 m of lakebed sediment will be attached to the tether to collect core samples.
The sediment under the Antarctic ice sheet is likely to date back hundreds of thousands of years to a time when humans first started to evolve. Samples collected from it will give a unique insight into climatic conditions and microbial life at that time.