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Interview of Anthony Jack Gow by Brian Shoemaker

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Title: Interview of Anthony Jack Gow by Brian Shoemaker
Creators: Gow, Anthony Jack
Contributors: Shoemaker, Brian
Issue Date: 2006-06-02
Publisher: Byrd Polar Research Center Archival Program
Series/Report no.: Polar Oral History Program
Abstract: Dr. Gow described his early life and education through the Doctor of Science in New Zealand. In 1957, he accepted a position with the Snow, Ice, and Permafrost Research Establishment (SIPRE) and joined the ice core drilling team. The traveling to Byrd Station from New Zealand included stopping at McMurdo and Little America. In early February, they had drilled to 309 meters. When he arrived, the Byrd Station was partially buried. The first drill could remove 20 ft. (?) cores. Compressed air was the drilling fluid. The cores were sent to the SIPRE laboratory in Winnetka, Illinois. Dr. Gow was assigned to the Arctic Institute of North America in Winnetka. He described the transport of ice core to Illinois. He returned to Little America and after drilling 258 meters, reached the bottom of the Ross Ice Shelf. In January, 1959, he helped close down the IGY station. In 1960-61 Dr. Gow returned to Antarctica to study the plastic defamation and the temperatures in the drill holes. The new Byrd Station was very spacious. With new equipment they drilled 2164 meters, the bottom of the ice sheet. On the Dailey Islands, he cored the Koetlitz Ice Tongue because the glacial ice was changed to sea ice. They discovered a big layer of liquid fresh water between the ice and the seawater. When the material under the glacier was gravel, it was difficult to remove the bottom core of ice. Dr. Gow summarized changes that occur with a core as it is sampled; with time, the air bubbles dissolved into the ice to form a gas hydrate. For one ice core, they identified over 2000 major depositions of volcanic ash. Comparing ice core from the Arctic to core from the Antarctic, major climate changes occurred almost simultaneously. In the 1970s, Dr. Gow went to Norwald Island to study the deformational processes in sea ice. The alignment of ice crystals was controlled by the current of water underneath the sea ice. In the late 1970s, he did research on floe bergs. He photographed the formation of a pressure ridge (sails) on Katie’s floe berg. Between 1976 and 1978 Dr. Gow spent summers in the Arctic and Antarctic. In the Antarctic he studied the processes causing changes in the ice shelf in McMurdo Sound. The ice shelf had a porous firn and water flowed through the ice like an aquifer. The flow of water could be tracked with radar. The brine wave could be over six times saltier than the ocean. Beginning in 1983, Dr. Gow worked on the remote sensing properties of sea ice in the Arctic. To obtain a composite picture, many disciplines had to be involved. The MIZEX, CRRELEX, and CEAREX groups were multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional. In 1989 the Greenland Ice Sheet Project was started. The ice core permitted accurate dating for 40,000 years. Average temperature started increasing about 10,000 years ago. Dr. Gow returned to Antarctica in 1997 for the drilling of Siple Dome. After retirement, Dr. Gow continues to be associated with ice core projects. Near the end of the interview, he described his relationship with Russian polar scientists. The interview covers five decades of research in the Arctic and Antarctic. Major Topics Dr. Gow’s educational background in New Zealand SIPRE group Cross-polarizers The collection and transportation of ice cores The conversion of glacial ice to sea ice Ice core drilling procedures Brine wave migration The use of satellites to measure ice properties MIZEK, CRRELEX, CEAREX projects EISP gas analysis project The role of ice cores to determine climate changes
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1811/6520
Other Identifiers: Record Group Number: 56.119
Rights: Restrictions: This item is not restricted.
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