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Justin Burnett

Mechanical Engineer





Department Affiliation

Ocean Engineering


B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Gonzaga University, 2010

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Nebraska, 2015


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Scientific access into Mercer Subglacial Lake: Scientific objectives, drilling operations and initial observations

Priscu, J.C., and 35 others including J. Burnett, "Scientific access into Mercer Subglacial Lake: Scientific objectives, drilling operations and initial observations," Ann. Glaciol., 62, 340-352, doi:10.1017/aog.2021.10, 2021.

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1 Sep 2021

The Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) Project accessed Mercer Subglacial Lake using environmentally clean hot-water drilling to examine interactions among ice, water, sediment, rock, microbes and carbon reservoirs within the lake water column and underlying sediments. A similar to 0.4 m diameter borehole was melted through 1087 m of ice and maintained over similar to 10 days, allowing observation of ice properties and collection of water and sediment with various tools. Over this period, SALSA collected: 60 L of lake water and 10 L of deep borehole water; microbes >0.2 μm in diameter from in situ filtration of similar to 100 L of lake water; 10 multicores 0.32–0.49 m long; 1.0 and 1.76 m long gravity cores; three conductivity-temperature-depth profiles of borehole and lake water; five discrete depth current meter measurements in the lake and images of ice, the lake water–ice interface and lake sediments. Temperature and conductivity data showed the hydrodynamic character of water mixing between the borehole and lake after entry. Models simulating melting of the similar to 6 m thick basal accreted ice layer imply that debris fall-out through the similar to 15 m water column to the lake sediments from borehole melting had little effect on the stratigraphy of surficial sediment cores.

A thirty-month seafloor test of the A-o-A method for calibrating pressure gauges

Wilcock, W.S.D., D.A. Manalang, E.K. Fredrickson, M.J. Harrington, G. Cram, J. Tilley, J. Burnett, D. Martin, T. Kobayashi, and J.M. Paros, "A thirty-month seafloor test of the A-o-A method for calibrating pressure gauges," Front. Earth Sci., 8, doi:10.3389/feart.2020.600671, 2021.

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15 Jan 2021

Geodetic observations in the oceans are important for understanding plate tectonics, earthquake cycles and volcanic processes. One approach to seafloor geodesy is the use of seafloor pressure gauges to sense vertical changes in the elevation of the seafloor after correcting for variations in the weight of the overlying oceans and atmosphere. A challenge of using pressure gauges is the tendency for the sensors to drift. The A-0-A method is a new approach for correcting drift. A valve is used to periodically switch, for a short time, the measured pressure from the external ocean to the inside of the instrument housing at atmospheric pressure. The internal pressure reading is compared to an accurate barometer to measure the drift which is assumed to be the same at low and high pressures. We describe a 30-months test of the A-0-A method at 900 m depth on the MARS cabled observatory in Monterey Bay using an instrument that includes two A-0-A calibrated pressure gauges and a three-component accelerometer. Prior to the calibrations, the two pressure sensors drift by 6 and 2 hPa, respectively. After the calibrations, the offsets of the corrected pressure sensors are consistent with each other to within 0.2 hPa. The drift corrected detided external pressure measurements show a 0.5 hPa/yr trend of increasing pressures during the experiment. The measurements are corrected for instrument subsidence based on the changes in tilt measured by the accelerometer, but the trend may include a component of subsidence that did not affect tilt. However, the observed trend of increasing pressure, closely matches that calculated from satellite altimetry and repeat conductivity, temperature and depth casts at a nearby location, and increasing pressures are consistent with the trend expected for the El Niño Southern Oscillation. We infer that the A-0-A drift corrections are accurate to better than one part in 105 per year. Additional long-term tests and comparisons with oceanographic observations and other methods for drift correction will be required to understand if the accuracy the A-0-A drift corrections matches the observed one part in 106 per year consistency between the two pressure sensors.

Mid-Holocene grounding line retreat and readvance at Whillans Ice Stream, West Antarctica

Venturelli, R.A., and 9 others including J. Burnett, "Mid-Holocene grounding line retreat and readvance at Whillans Ice Stream, West Antarctica," Geophys. Res. Lett., 47, e2020GL088476, doi:10.1029/2020GL088476, 2020.

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16 Aug 2020

Understanding ice sheet evolution through the geologic past can help constrain ice sheet models that predict future ice dynamics. Existing geological records of grounding line retreat in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, have been confined to ice‐free and terrestrial archives, which reflect dynamics from periods of more extensive ice cover. Therefore, our perspective of grounding line retreat since the Last Glacial Maximum remains incomplete. Sediments beneath Ross Ice Shelf and grounded ice offer complementary insight into the southernmost extent of grounding line retreat, yielding a more complete view of ice dynamics during deglaciation. Here we thermochemically separate the youngest organic carbon to estimate ages from sediments extracted near the Whillans Ice Stream grounding line to provide direct evidence of mid‐Holocene (7.5–4.8 kyr B.P.) grounding line retreat in that region. Our study demonstrates the utility of accurately dated, grounding‐line‐proximal sediment deposits for reconstructing past interactions between marine and subglacial environments.


Sampling at Depth In-Situ eDNA (SADIe)

Record of Invention Number: 49474

Sarah Webster, Justin Burnett, Ben Cunningham, Philip LaMothe


14 Mar 2022

Thermal Ice Melt Probe Including Water Jetting and Clean Sampling

Record of Invention Number: 49014

Dale Winebrenner, Justin Burnett, Tim Elam


13 Jul 2020

Seaglider SGX

Record of Invention Number: 49011

Justin Burnett, Jason Gobat, Adam Huxtable, Michael Johnson, Ben Jokinen


8 Jul 2020

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center