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Cryoegg: development and field trials of a wireless subglacial probe for deep, fast-moving ice

Prior-Jones, Michael ORCID:, Bagshaw, Elizabeth A. ORCID:, Lees, Jonathan ORCID:, Clare, Lindsay, Burrow, Stephen, Werder, Mauro A., Karlsson, Nanna B., Dahl-Jensen, Dorthe, Chudley, Thomas R., Christoffersen, Poul, Wadham, Jemma, Doyle, Samuel H. and Hubbard, Bryn 2021. Cryoegg: development and field trials of a wireless subglacial probe for deep, fast-moving ice. Journal of Glaciology 67 (264) , pp. 627-640. 10.1017/jog.2021.16

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Subglacial hydrological systems require innovative technological solutions to access and observe. Wireless sensor platforms can be used to collect and return data, but their performance in deep and fast-moving ice requires quantification. We report experimental results from Cryoegg: a spherical probe that can be deployed into a borehole or moulin and transit through the subglacial hydrological system. The probe measures temperature, pressure and electrical conductivity in situ and returns all data wirelessly via a radio link. We demonstrate Cryoegg's utility in studying englacial channels and moulins, including in situ salt dilution gauging. Cryoegg uses VHF radio to transmit data to a surface receiving array. We demonstrate transmission through up to 1.3 km of cold ice – a significant improvement on the previous design. The wireless transmission uses Wireless M-Bus on 169 MHz; we present a simple radio link budget model for its performance in cold ice and experimentally confirm its validity. Cryoegg has also been tested successfully in temperate ice. The battery capacity should allow measurements to be made every 2 h for more than a year. Future iterations of the radio system will enable Cryoegg to transmit data through up to 2.5 km of ice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence
Publisher: International Glaciological Society
ISSN: 0022-1430
Funders: EPSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 February 2021
Date of Acceptance: 28 January 2021
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 12:21

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