The IceCube is a particle detector at the South Pole that records neutrino interactions. It has lead to many fascinating new discoveries in the field of astrophysics (e.g., 1, 2) and it was awarded "Breakthrough of the Year 2013" by Physics World. My question is whether the process of installation and operation of such an extensive array has provided any new knowledge of the geophysical characteristics of the Antarctic.


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IceCube was initiated as the Antarctic Muon And Neutrino Detector Array (AMANDA) project. Since the sensor array involved drilling deep holes vertically into the Antarctic ice sheet by melting ice, no ice cores were retrieved. The bore holes have, however, been used to construct temperature profiles through the Antarctic ice sheet published in a paper in PNAS. Gathering information of internal temperature is important to understand, for example, basal geothermal heat fluxes and estimating whether or not the ice sheet base is at the melting point and can support liquid water.

In the glaciological literature, very little has been published but then the projects AMANDA and IceCube have never focussed on such questions.

Price et al. (2002) Temperature profile for glacial ice at the South Pole: Implications for life in a nearby subglacial lake. PNAS, 99, (12), 7844-7847. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.082238999


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