Data Set ID:

Radar Studies of Internal Stratigraphy and Bed Topography along the US ITASE-II Traverse, Version 1

This data set contains ice penetrating radar data from the US-International Trans-Antarctic Science Expedition (ITASE) Traverse, from Taylor Dome to South Pole recorded by the St. Olaf College deep radar system. Parameters include latitude, longitude, distance along profile (m), ice thickness pick (m), surface elevation (m), and bed echo power (relative units) from the approximately 1800 km traverse recorded during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 Antarctic field seasons (austral summer). The traverse has been broken into three segments, which are shown on three maps provided with the data. A sample radar profile covering approximately 120 km of the traverse near Titan Dome is also provided.

Data are available via FTP as ASCII text files (.txt). Profile location maps and sample profile sections are available as Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg) image files.

NSIDC does not archive these data.

  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glaciers > GLACIERS
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Thickness/Ice Sheet Thickness > GLACIER THICKNESS/ICE SHEET THICKNESS
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Glacier Topography/Ice Sheet Topography > GLACIER TOPOGRAPHY/ICE SHEET TOPOGRAPHY
  • Glaciers/Ice Sheets > Ice Sheets > ICE SHEETS
  • Radar
Data Format(s):
Spatial Coverage:
N: -78, 
S: -90, 
E: 160, 
W: 130
Spatial Resolution:Not SpecifiedSensor(s):RADAR
Temporal Coverage:
  • 1 November 2006 to 1 February 2008
Temporal ResolutionNot specifiedMetadata XML:View Metadata Record
Data Contributor(s):Robert Jacobel

Geographic Coverage

Please contact the data provider for the correct Data Citation for this data set.

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Detailed Data Description


Data are available as ASCII text files (.txt). Example profiles and location maps are available as image files in Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg).

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File and Directory Structure

Data are available on the FTP site in the directory. 

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File Naming Convention

Files are named according to the following convention:


  • Where: XXX corresponds to the profile segments in the location maps. The specific location (latitude and longitude) of each profile section is described in its corresponding data file.

Example: The file, STOC_US_ITASE_Deep_Radar_Site_064_072.txt contains data from the profile segment 064 to 072.

Files contain ice penetrating radar data from the US-ITASE Traverse fromTaylor Dome to South Pole, recorded by the St. Olaf College deep radar system. 

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File Size

Files in this data set range in size from 700 KB to 17 MB.

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The total volume of the data set is approximately 46 MB.

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Spatial Coverage

Data were collected along the US-ITASE II route in Antarctica.

Southernmost Latitude: 90° S
Northernmost Latitude: 78° S
Westernmost Longitude: 130° E
Easternmost Longitude: 160° E

Spatial Coverage Maps

These maps show traverse locations for the US-ITASE traverse route conducted in 2006-2007 and 2007-2008. The ice core locations indicate the two-digit year of the start of that traverse, and the site number.

2006-2008 Location Map

2006-2008 Location Map

2006-2008 Route Map

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Temporal Coverage

Data in this collection were obtained during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 Antarctic field seasons.

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Parameter or Variable

Data in this collection were obtained during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 Antarctic field seasons.

Parameter or Variable

Table 1. Parameters in the Profile Data Files
Parameter Description
Latitude/Longitude Location of radar measurement
Distance Distance along profile (km)
Bed Depth Ice sheet depth, or thickness (m)
Bed Echo Power Power contained in bed echo wavelet (relative units). For more information see Jacobel, et al., 2010.
Elevation Surface elevation (m)

Sample Data Record

The following example shows sample data from the STOC_US_ITASE_DEEP_RADAR_Site_064-071.txt file.

Latitude Longitude Distance Bed Depth Layer Depth Elevation
8.0266686e+001 1.4441099e+002 4.7565250e+002 2.3144550e+003 2.2020676e+003 8.0764291e+004

Sample Data Image

sample radar profile
Figure 4. Sample radar profile covering approximately 120 km of the traverse near Titan Dome

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Software and Tools

Software and Tools

Data are accessible using standard spreadsheet software.

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Data Acquisition and Processing

Theory of Measurements

Researchers conducted ground-based ice-penetrating radar surveys along the US-ITASE traverse from Taylor Dome to South Pole to depict bedrock topography, internal stratigraphy and to derive information about basal conditions (wet vs. dry) based on differences in the radar reflectivity. This research was part of the larger ITASE multidisciplinary study, of which the primary aim is the collection and interpretation of a continental-wide array of environmental parameters assembled through the coordinated efforts of scientists from several nations. The primary planned product of this cooperative endeavor is the description and understanding of environmental change in Antarctica over approximately the last 200 years.

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Data Acquisition Methods

The system and operator were towed by a snow machine, housed in a small shelter built on a wooden Komatik sled. Power for the receiver, and for battery chargers, was provided either by a solar-powered battery system, or a small gas-powered generator mounted on the back of the sled. The transmitter batteries were recharged by the solar panels or generator. The shelter was also equipped with a GPS receiver to locate the data points.

The transmitter was towed 100 m or more behind the receiver sled. The transmitter and its battery sat in a small sled, protected from the elements by the sled's nylon cover. The antennas for the transmitter and receiver were housed in strong rubber hoses and tied to the tow ropes to keep the antennas as straight and parallel as possible.

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Sensor or Instrument Description

Researchers used a 3 MHz radio echo-sounding system to transmit and receive radio waves through as much as three kilometers of ice. For more information, visit the St. Olaf College Radar Program Web site.

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References and Related Publications

Contacts and Acknowledgments

Dr. Robert Jacobel
Department of Physics
St. Olaf College
1520 St. Olaf Ave.
Northfield, MN 55057


This research was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP) grant 0337567.

Document Information


15 October 2010

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