The Great Greenland Snow Job – 02 – Camp Century Strata

Camp Century Strata

In July 1966 Lyle Hansen encountered the bottom of the Greenland Ice Sheet after drilling through 1,387.4 meters of ice, silt bands and small pebbles at Camp Century [77°10’N 61°08’W].

A 186-meter long core was recovered during the 1960-1961 season.

A second hole was started in 1962 from which 238 meters of core were obtained.

A third hole was started in 1963 and 264 meters of core were obtained.
These holes were filled with fluid after the drilling had been completed.

In 1964, the third hole was extended to 535 meters using the thermal drill in a fluid-filled hole.

In 1965 the Electrodrill, an electromechanical coring drill, was used to extend the third hole to a depth of 1,002 meters. Continuous core was recovered.

In June 1966, drilling was resumed with the Electrodrill, which had been modified.

On July 2, at a depth of 1,370.5 meters, ice containing silt bands and small pebbles was encountered.

On July 4, after drilling through 16.9 meters of this material, the interface at the bottom of the ice cap was reached at a depth of 1,387.4 meters.

The bottom material is frozen till; 3.55 meters of this material was re-covered.

The total depth of the hole is 1,391 meters.

Deep Core Drilling in Ice and Core Analysis at Camp Century, Greenland, 1961-1966
B. Lyle Hansen and C. C. Langway Jr.
U. S. Army Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory
Antarctic Journal September-October 1966

Camp Century - Radio-echo soundings

Camp Century was a very curious US military facility “burrowed some 100 feet beneath the surface” of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Hansen and his crew completed their first drilling accomplishment in a covered subsurface trench at Camp Century – a Cold War facility constructed in 1959 and operated by the Army’s Polar Research and Development Center.

The camp was actually a network of 21 trenches burrowed some 100 feet beneath the surface and covered with corrugated steel arches.

Contained within the tunnels were a few dozen plywood buildings that served as research labs, dormitories, a mess hall, and even a skating rink and barber shop.

While the air temperature within the tunnels was kept at a frigid 20 degrees (F) to prevent the ice walls from melting, the ambiance was much more hospitable than the extremely bitter conditions above, where winter temperatures as low as 70 degrees (F) below zero were accompanied by winds as high as 125 miles per hour.

Research and Development in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Improving the Common Stock of Knowledge – 2011 – Damon Manders – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Camp Century - Composite

Unfortunately, the occupants of Camp Century had more to worry about than melting “ice walls” and frostbite because the Greenland Ice Sheet is constantly flowing “plastically”.

The surface of the inland ice forms in a transverse section from the west to the east coast an extremely regular curve, almost approaching an arc of a wide circle, which along Nansen’s route has its highest ridge somewhat nearer the east than the west coast.

The same also seems to be the case farther south.

The curve shows, however, slight irregularities in the shape of undulations.

The angle of the slope decreases gradually from the margin of the inland ice, where it may be 1° or more, towards the interior, where it is 0°.

The ice-cap of Greenland must to some extent be considered as a viscous mass, which, by the vertical pressure in its interior, is pressed outwards and slowly flows towards the coasts, just as a mass of pitch placed on a table and left to itself will in the course of time flow outwards towards all sides.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica – Eleventh Edition

Greenland Cross Section

A series of deformation measurements have been selected for preliminary studies on the plasticity of Greenland glacier ice.

The measurements to be reported on were obtained in the Red Rock and TUTO tunnels in north-west Greenland.

Both tunnels were excavated during the summer of 1955 with some additional work done during the summer of 1956.

Deformation measurements made up to the end of the 1956 summer season, therefore, are of limited reliability, but certain trends appearing in these data seem worth reporting.

The topics discussed are
(1) the shearing of an initially vertical peg system at Red Rock,
(2) the deformation of core holes at TUTO, and
(3) tunnel closure at both sites.

Also, at TUTO, core holes that were circular in 1955 had become elliptical by 1956 and measurements were made on these.

Some Preliminary Observations on the Plasticity of Greenland Glaciers
Joseph K. Landauer – 1958
Journal of Glaciology Volume 3 – Issue 26

Camp Century - TUTO Tunnels

The leading edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet “plastically” flows like a continuous track [aka tank tread or caterpillar track] when the ice sheet is advancing.

Ice Advance

Away from the leading edge the ice sheet is also flowing “plastically” like a very viscous fluid.

Camp Century - Horizontal Velocity

The ice sheet at Camp Century flowed “plastically” and the “main trench” experienced a “reduction in cross sectional area = 12% per year”.

Camp Century - Temperature + Deformation

Camp Century was also a very curious choice for ice core drilling because [unlike Site 2] the ice sheet beneath Camp Century did not extend down to sea level.

Camp Century - 1964 vs 1969

Therefore, when the Camp Century drilling team reached “the bottom of the ice cap” and encountered “frozen till” [aka glacial till] the team had not reached bedrock but had [instead] reached glacial sediment resting at about 500 metres above sea level in the uplands of Greenland.

Till or glacial till is unsorted glacial sediment.

Glacial drift is the coarsely graded and extremely heterogeneous sediment of a glacier whereas glacial till is the part of glacial drift which was deposited directly by the glacier.

Its content may vary from clays to mixtures of clay, sand, gravel, and boulders.

This material is mostly derived from the subglacial erosion and entrainment by the moving ice of the glaciers of previously available unconsolidated sediments.

Bedrock can also be eroded through the action of glacial plucking and abrasion and the resulting clasts of various sizes will be incorporated to the glacier’s bed.

Glacial till

The larger grains (pebbles and gravel) in the till are completely surrounded by the matrix of finer material (silt and sand), and this characteristic, known as matrix support, is diagnostic of till.

Bedrock is the hard, solid rock beneath surface materials such as soil and gravel.
Bedrock also underlies sand and other sediments on the ocean floor.
Bedrock is consolidated rock, meaning it is solid and tightly bound.
Overlying material is often unconsolidated rock, which is made up of loose particles.

National Geographic – Education

In 1964 [the yet to be famous] Willi Dansgaard visited Camp Century.

Willi Dansgaard [1922-2011] was a Danish paleoclimatologist.

Dansgaard was the first paleoclimatologist to demonstrate that measurements of the trace isotopes oxygen-18 and deuterium in accumulated glacier ice could be used as an indicator of past climate. Dansgaard was the first to note deuterium excess, or a water sample’s deviation from the global meteoric water line (GMWL) in ice cores. He found that the kinetic differences between hydrogen-1 and deuterium related to the temperature of source water, and the absolute humidity.

He was the first scientist to extract palaeoclimatic information from the American Camp Century ice core from Greenland drilled by the US army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL).

Dansgaard also took a leading role in the drilling of the first ice core to bedrock for scientific reasons, the DYE-3 core from South Greenland, 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) from the Camp Century.

Confirming findings from the analysis of the Camp Century ice core, the DYE-3 climate profile documented the existence of rapid climate change, during and at the end of the last glacial. The repeated events of abrupt climate change during the glacial are named after Willi Dansgaard and his Swiss colleague, Hans Oeschger, and are known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events.

Willi Dansgaard’s visit to Camp Century was to consolidate his work on the Si-32 dating method.

We were met by unique obligingness from the Americans.

In advance, we had asked for two drums of fuel for melting our two 20 tons snow samples.

The commanding officer, major Morris, suspected us of modesty (a true misconception), so he doubled up.

Down at the Thule air base it was questioned if we meant heavy or light fuel, and consequently they decided to order four drums of each, an order that was doubled once again further up in the hierachi.

Therefore, 16 drums of fuel was waiting for us at the end of the subsurface main street, where our preparation was supposed to take place.

14 drums are still available for deserving poor.

Analyses of our two Camp Century samples showed, firstly, an abundance of Si-32 in the new snow, undoubtedly due to fall-out of bomb-debris and, secondly, that its half life was 300 years rather than the 700 years estimated previously.

Willi Dansgaard

Frozen Annals Greenland Ice Cap Research – 2005 – Willi Dansgaard

Willi Dansgaard [although not directly involved in the drilling at Camp Century] subsequently submitted a successful proposal that “offered to measure the whole ice core from top to bottom”.

As mentioned above, we were not invited to see the scientifically most exciting project going on in Camp Century, namely the deep ice core drilling by USA CRREL under the leadership of Lyle B. Hansen.

I submitted a proposal to Dr. Chester C. Langway, Jr., who was responsible for all ice cores recovered by SIPRE and CRREL.

I enclosed some reprints documenting, firstly, that I had some experience regarding the transposition of isotopes in the circulation of water in nature and, secondly, that the EGIG cores had already given evidence of past climatic changes being marked by δ-variations in the inland ice.

Finally, I offered to measure the whole ice core from top to bottom in any reasonable detail in co-operation with, but without expense to CRREL.

Frozen Annals Greenland Ice Cap Research – 2005 – Willi Dansgaard

The analysis of the 1,387.4 meter long Camp Century ice core began by cutting 86 samples [in 1967] from amongst the 2 metre lengths of ice core stored in New Hampshire.

In 1967, Jørgen Møller went to the headquarters of CRREL in Hanover, New Hampshire, for cutting samples from the Camp Century ice core that was kept as increments in 2 metres long cardboard cylinders.

He came back with 86 samples cut with great care at selected depths from top to bottom according to a thoroughly planned distribution.

Frozen Annals Greenland Ice Cap Research – 2005 – Willi Dansgaard

An additional 7,500 samples were cut in 1968 and the first Camp Century papers by Willi Dansgaard were published in 1969.

At the international symposium ISAGE arranged by CRREL in 1968 we presented – with Chet as a co-author – this first version of the Camp Century record in a talk that created quite a stir.

I was invited on the spot to give a talk next year at the Nobel symposium “Radiocarbon Variations and Absolute Chronology” in Uppsala, and so I did.

But by then Sigfus Johnsen and Henrik Clausen had cut 7,500 additional samples altogether covering the entire Camp Century core from top to bottom.

Furthermore, in 1969 we had published the new results with Chet under the title:
“One thousand centuries of climate record from Camp Century on the Greenland ice sheet”
– in other words, 100 kyr of climate record, and even this turned out to be underestimated.

Frozen Annals Greenland Ice Cap Research – 2005 – Willi Dansgaard

Camp Century - Core

Roll forward 45 years and Willi Dansgaard’s papers from 1969 are now revered as Settled Science because subsequent work has [so I am told] “vindicated all of Dansgaard’s findings”.

In 1966, the Americans obtained a 1,390 m ice core from Camp Century – the first ice core to penetrate the Greenland ice sheet down to bedrock.

By sampling each layer of ice and measuring its oxygen isotope composition, Dansgaard produced an annual record of air temperature for the last 100,000 years.

He had produced the first annual weather report for the last glacial stage

Perhaps the most startling outcome of this work was the demonstration that global climate could change extremely rapidly.

Dansgaard showed that dramatic shifts in mean air temperature (>10°C) had taken place in less than a decade.

These findings were greeted with scepticism and there was much debate about the integrity of the Greenland record, but subsequent work from other drilling sites vindicated all of Dansgaard’s findings.

The Ice Age – A Very Short Introduction
Jamie Woodward – 2014 – Oxford University Press

This revered Settled Science based upon Willi Dansgaard’s “findings” includes the Holocene, the Younger Dryas, Dansgaard–Oeschger Events and Ice Ages.

The Holocene is a geological epoch which began at the end of the Pleistocene (at 11,700 calendar years BP) and continues to the present.

Climate has been fairly stable over the Holocene.
Ice core records show that before the Holocene there was global warming after the end of the last ice age and cooling periods, but climate changes became more regional at the start of the Younger Dryas.

The Younger Dryas stadial, also referred to as the Big Freeze, was a geologically brief (1,300 ± 70 years) period of cold climatic conditions and drought which occurred between approximately 12,800 and 11,500 years BP (between 10,800 and 9500 BC).

The Younger Dryas stadial is thought to have been caused by the collapse of the North American ice sheets, although rival theories have been proposed.

Dansgaard–Oeschger events (often abbreviated D–O events) are rapid climate fluctuations that occurred 25 times during the last glacial period.

The best evidence for Dansgaard–Oeschger events remains in the Greenland ice cores, which only go back to the end of the last interglacial, the Eemian interglacial.

In the Northern Hemisphere, they take the form of rapid warming episodes, typically in a matter of decades, each followed by gradual cooling over a longer period.

The processes behind the timing and amplitude of these events (as recorded in ice cores) are still unclear.

An ice age is a period of long-term reduction in the temperature of Earth’s surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental and polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers.

The causes of ice ages are not fully understood for either the large-scale ice age periods or the smaller ebb and flow of glacial–interglacial periods within an ice age.

This cornucopia of Settled Science stemming from Willi Dansgaard’s 1969 papers is truly remarkable because Willi Dansgaard openly stated that his “sandwich model” has “weaknesses” and that he had used an “unchanged accumulation rate throughout the whole lapse of time” whilst knowing that “accumulation under glacial conditions was obviously lower than in warm periods”.

After the talk at the Nobel symposium a colleague praised me for the consistency by having reckoned on unchanged accumulation rate throughout the whole lapse of time without guessing on its value under glacial conditions.

I found it difficult to accept the praise, because one of the weaknesses of our sandwich model was just that the accumulation under glacial conditions was obviously lower than in warm periods.

By then, however, nobody knew how much lower, so we desisted from guessing.

Frozen Annals Greenland Ice Cap Research – 2005 – Willi Dansgaard

A remarkable aspect of the 1969 chronology for Camp Century is that it is based entirely upon mathematical modelling and excludes the “reasonable interpretation of physical stratigraphy” that was incorporated into the Site 2 methodology.

This cornucopia of Settled Science is also truly remarkable because a Camp Century stratigraphy [based upon the uppermost 100 metres] detailed in a δ18O study [from 1977] very strongly suggests the Greenland Ice Sheet formed in 945 AD.

Camp Century - Trendlines

Camp Century 1977 Annual Layer Thickness and Delta 18-O

All of these Camp Century projections conform to the gradualist doctrine that states:
“the present is the key to the past”.

Uniformitarianism is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe.

It has included the gradualistic concept that “the present is the key to the past” and is functioning at the same rates.

The most statistically significant projection [with a R2 of 0.9999] based upon reported data from Camp Century clearly supports Gunnar Heinsohn’s alternative chronology that suggests a worldwide catastrophe occurred during the 230s AD and that mainstream chronologies are then followed by 700 Phantom Years of history.

Whilst researching Camp Century it soon became apparent that referenced sources contained small numerical inconsistencies which can be charitably attributed to rounding and truncation.

However, there are a few examples where the accuracy of the numerical data is more questionable.

Example One:

The bottom of the ice cap was reached at a depth of 1,387.4 meters at Camp Century according to Lyle Hansen.

1) Lyle Hansen did not state he had securely recovered 1,387.4 meters of ice core.
2) Lyle Hansen did not state the depth [below the surface] associated with the first metre of secured ice core.

Point 2) is very relevant because Camp Century was “burrowed some 100 feet beneath the surface”.

Therefore, it is difficult to envisage how any reported Camp Century ice core data could actually span the entire 1,387.4 meters or start above a depth [of about] 100 feet.

Intriguingly, Willi Dansgaard’s Sandwich Model only required the depth to the “bottom of the ice cap” from the drilling operation.

Example Two:

The Camp Century 1977 Annual Layer Thickness and Delta 18-O data set that is available on the NOAA web site is dated 1977 and the first data point is for 1975.

This is very curious because:
a) Drilling apparently stopped at Camp Century in 1966.
b) The “references” quoted in the data file are all dated before 1973.

Camp Century - 1977

Gallery | This entry was posted in Catastrophism, Glaciology, Great Greenland Snow Job, Greenland, Gunnar Heinsohn, History, Uniformitarianism. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Great Greenland Snow Job – 02 – Camp Century Strata

  1. Steve Garcia says:

    The specialization in science means that one field doesn’t know what another field has known about for years. Plastics engineers have always known about what this article calls “bulldozing”. But they know it as boundary layer flow in laminar flows. Pardon me if I don’t have the exact terminology. It’s been almost 30 years since I worked with any of this.

    The image of the bulldozing is clearly boundary layer flow. You DO have it right that the ice is flowing plastically. The plastic material flow (the glacier) in the photo shows laminations – what seem to be layers. This is due in flowing industrial plastics to the boundary layer as one constraint and the pressure (from gravity) that makes the ice flow. The material most extreme from the wal in industrial plastics flows the fastest, as it has the least amount of resistance. The boundary layer – the layer right next to the solid wall or ground – has a great amount of friction. The gradualness of the transition from the top layer (the most extreme from the ground) to the boundary layer is not linear. Near the ground the boundary layer’s velocity is increasingly reduced. The ice in direct contact with the ground is severally constrained and will hardly move at all. To some extent the boundary layert is glued to the ground.

    It is important to know that there is shear at all molecular/crystalline levels above the ground. Wherever the ice can shear it WILL shear. Shear here is in the scientific use of the term. Each “sheared layer” moves faster than the one below it and slower than the one above it. This is, as I have always understood it) due to the lessening of the pressure as the height above the ground is lessened. The same gravity that drives the ice downhill also drives all ice crystals downward toward the ground, as you know.

    Those lines that you see and that make you see it as a continuous track” are nothing more than all of this shear made visible. This visibility comes from the dragging out of the ice parallel to the direction of travel. You are seeing shear planes, with various shades of black and grey and brown accenting them.

    With shear at all levels and the boundary layer “glued” to the ground, these lines MUST show up. If industrial plastics are seeded with dirt, the result would be the same – lines of the dirt would form. I’ve worked with multi-layered coinjection blowmolding, and I ran lab tests on such plastic flow, with layers being colored red-white and blue. Other than color variations, what I dealt with was the same as what you all are calling “bulldozing”. The wrap-around you see is nothing more than the frontal edge of the flow. What happens is that if all layers start out equally advanced down the flow path, then the adhesion of the boundary layer will make the next layer eventually flow past the boundary layer’s leading edge – but it gets a little “wrapped-around” appearance, too.. Then that layer becomes an extention of the boundary layer, and the upper layers all move down one layer. Soon the next layer extends past THAT layer’s leading edge and become part of the boundary layer, too. This keep on repeating along the flow path.

    You can also think of it like army ants crossing a stream and many of them sacrificing themselves, sinking into the water, so that the ones who come later can advance further. The sinking (and dying) of the leading edge of ants is pretty much equivalent to what you call “bulldozing”.

    In multi-layer plastics coinjection, it is always necessary to deal with this effect, to make sure that all the layers end up EVEN at the end of the injection flow path inside the mold. This is dealt with my starting the outer layers (the ones with the boundary layer) early and the other layers later, with the one farthest from any walls last. That “middle” layer in coinjection travels the fastest, because it has the least amount of drag.

    (BTW, in coinjection, the plastic flow paths are not chilled like in normal injection molding; instead they are heated – in my experience to about 220°C – to lower the viscosity. With the heat, the plastic can bake, so some tricks are used to even out the heat within the flow path and move the boundary layer away from the flow channel walls.)

    Really the only difference is that in coinjection we dealt with TWO walls and two boundary layers, whereas in glaciers there is only one boundary layer.

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