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The Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project is an integrative study of ice sheet stability and subglacial geobiology in West Antarctica, funded in 2009 by the Antarctic Integrated System Science Program of National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs, Antarctic Division.  There are 13 Principal Investigators (PIs) at eight different US Institutions, with additional US and International collaborators.

Antarctic field work began in austral summer 2010/11, and continues through the 2013/14 season.

The study area is the downstream part of the Whillans Ice Stream on the Siple Coast, specifically Subglacial Lake Whillans and the grounding zone towards which the lake discharges.

Check here for today's weather near the study area.

If you have questions or comments about WISSARD, please use our Contact form or download our contact information (PDF).

Research will be conducted through three complementary projects, each consisting of multiple collaborative grants:NSF logo

Additionally, there are two subsequent grants associated with WISSARD:

  • Investigating (Un)Stable Sliding of Whillians Ice Stream and Subglacial Water Dynamics Using Borehole Seismology (NSF grant #1043784)
  • Micro-Submersible Lake Exploration Device (MSLED) - Development of first generation propelled slim-hole device for subglacial lake (& aquatic enviornments ) exploration (NSF grant #1142123)

Project Personnel

Learn more about personnel working on the WISSARD project.

Collaborating Institutions

Montana State University

University of California Santa Cruz

Northern Illinois University

Louisiana State University

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego

Pennsylvania State University

St. Olaf College

Arizona State University

Project Logistical and Operational Support

US Antarctic Program, Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Lockheed-Martin Antarctic Support Contract

DOER Marine

Project Financial Support

NSF — the National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

NASA — National Aeronautic and Space Administration

NOAA — National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Related Projects and Organizations

Subglacial Lake Ellsworth

WAIS — West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core Project

ANDRILL — Antarctic Geologic Drilling

SCAR — Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

SALE — Subglacial Antarctic Lake Exploration

IPY — International Polar Year


Education and Outreach Partners

NSF Office of Polar Programs

NASA Astrobiology Institute

American Honda Foundation

The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation