Two geological researchers from Iowa State University leave today to spend most of the month -under- an icecap in Norway. Neal Iverson, a professor of geology and atmospheric sciences at I-S-U, is leading a team of researchers about 700 feet beneath the ice to a subglacial laboratory.Professor Iverson and the team will be living and working beneath the icecap in a bunker-lab cored out of solid rock by Norwegian researchers. The tunnels are a constant 35-degrees with 100-percent humidity. He says the only part of the trip that’ll be uncomfortable is the fact you “get soaked” early in the morning and stay wet most of the day. Plus, they’ll only get the chance to see the sun every couple of days — and that’s after a 30-minute hike up the tunnel. The team will be making detailed measurements over three weeks to better understand how the glacier moves.The tunnel was built by a Norwegian power company to collect water from the glacier for hydropower. Fast-moving glaciers can influence the environment enough to cause significant climate change. While the glaciers that formed Iowa’s landscape melted about 14-thousand years ago, Iverson says two major glaciers or ice sheets still exist on earth today. He says studying the modern glaciers lets researchers understand the global water balance.Iverson will be joined for the three-week trip by I-S-U graduate student Peter Moore, along with researchers from several other groups including Yale University, the Wisconsin Geological Survey, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration.
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