Hercules and IcePod

There are many types of C-130s. I am not sure what the “L” stands for, but it means the plane lands on skis. These planes are old (from the 1980s I believe) and mechanical issues are frequent. This season we have been delayed due to problems with the engine, propeller, and rear ski. If maintenance requires at least a whole shift’s worth of work, then the plane is “hard broke”.

Radar instruments such as CDR (Crevasse Detection Radar)  have been attached to the lever arm of an LC-130 in the past. This is why IcePod was designed with Hercs in mind as our platform. And for the reason that these are the only aircrafts available in McMurdo suitable for our kind of surveying .

IcePod is equipped with two sets of radar: Deep Ice Radar (DICE) and  Shallow Ice Radar (SIR). DICE can penetrate through ice up to about 4kms and can detect the base of the ice shelf, while SIR provides better resolution, seeing to 400m.  The SIR is a frequency modulated continuous wave system, while the DICE is a pulsed system. The SIR uses different antennas for transmitting and receiving; DICE is a mono-static system (although it does not appear so).

The black things that sort of look like fins are the DICE antennas.


After the pod operator (on this flight, Chris Bertinato) turns the DICE on, we usually put an ECW bag in front of the bubble window to remind us not to stick our heads there. Is a little radiation really worth that awesome picture?

Author: Alec Lockett

Alec grew up in Belmont, MA and graduated with a degree in Geology in May 2017 from Colorado College. His senior thesis used gravity and magnetic data from the ROSETTA-Ice 2015-2016 field season to interpret and characterize the bedrock beneath the Ross Ice Shelf, West Antarctica. The project is an interdisciplinary effort with the aim of understanding the systems interaction between the Ross Ice Shelf, underlying water and bedrock through an airborne geophysical survey. Geophysics, along with remote sensing (of the cryosphere) and structural geology, are some of Alec’s overarching interests, which grew while working in Antarctica with members of the ROSETTA-Ice group during the 2016-2017 season. Alec is participating in field data collection once more this fall/winter (Antarctic summer). Interests outside of geology include reading, hiking, skiing and biking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s