Support Office for Aerogeophysical Research Lake Vostok Project

Project Description
Project Origination
To accomplish the objectives of CASERTZ, we partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey to develop a Twin Otter aerogeophysical platform that succeeded in integrating, ice-penetrating radar, laser altimetry, gravity and magnetic instrumentation for simultaneous operation. In 1994, in response to the science proposal to complete the CASERTZ corridors, the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs requested that the aircraft and its integrated instrumentation package be operated as a facility with a mission of providing aerogeophysical observations to the broader Antarctic science community. This request led to a Cooperative Agreement between UTIG and NSF that created the Support Office for Aerogeophysical Research (SOAR).
The SOAR Mission
The six-year Cooperative Agreement defined UTIG's responsibilities as:

-Assisting in the development of aerogeophysical research projects with NSF/OPP investigators

-Upgrading the CASERTZ instrumentation package to accommodate new science projects and advances in technology; fielding this instrument package to accomplish SOAR developed projects

-Distribution of the acquired aerogeophysical data as spatially organized transects to the Project Investigators within six months of its return from the field.

An option was included for SOAR to reduce and analyze the aerogeophysical data that it collected for members of the scientific community without that capacity.

SOAR Accomplishments
Beginning in 1994, UTIG conducted aerogeophysical surveys in seven consecutive Antarctic field seasons. These SOAR-developed surveys were performed for the 20 investigators and 14 institutions listed in Table 1. The first six of these seasons were managed under the NSF/UTIG Cooperative Agreement with D. Blankenship as PI; the last, 2000/2001, was managed as a multi-investigator grant to UTIG with D. Blankenship, J. Holt, D. Morse and I. Dalziel as co PI's. To accomplish these surveys, UTIG configured the integrated instrumentation package and installed it in the aircraft on site in Antarctica each season; additionally, base camp operations were established at up to five remote sites each field season. In total, UTIG conducted an additional 225,000 line kilometers of aerogeophysical surveys in 422 flights covering the areas shown in the Figure. The spatially organized database of geophysical transects was delivered to the various investigators within the targeted six-month time frame.

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