Small Hot Water Drill

Drill Maintenance and Testing in Full Swing at IDP-WI

IDP engineers worked efficiently during the second quarter to repair and test equipment returned from Antarctic field projects before quickly shipping the equipment to Scotia, NY, for projects in Greenland.

IDP Lead Engineer Jay Johnson uses a surface grinder to sharpen cutters for the Blue Ice Drill. Credit: Krissy Slawny.

IDP Engineer Barb Birrittella reattaches flights to a Hand Auger core barrel. Credit: Jess Ackerman.

IDP Warehouse Manager Jim Koehler tests a Small Hot Water Drill behind the IDP facility in Madison, WI. Credit: Krissy Slawny.

IDP Supports a Successful 2019/20 Antarctic Field Season

The 2019/20 Antarctic field season was a bustling time for IDP. The entire engineering staff of IDP deployed across five different sites. Using the Winkie Drill and Badger-Eclipse Drill, Engineer Grant Boeckmann and Research Intern Elliot Moravec successfully collected four subglacial rock cores on Thwaites Glacier in the Hudson Mountains for PI Brent Goehring’s project. Engineer Tanner Kuhl and Driller Elizabeth Morton supported PI John Higgins’s work at Allan Hills through operation of the Blue Ice Drill and the new Foro 400 Drill. IDP Warehouse Manager Jim Koehler operated the Intermediate Depth Logging Winch (IDLW) at South Pole Station in support of PI Kael Hanson’s logging of the SPICEcore borehole and then transitioned to WAIS Divide to assist Engineer Chris Gibson with testing of the new RAM 2 Drill components with the original RAM Drill compressors. They were also able to perform brief testing on the Small Hot Water Drill, which will serve as the backup drill for PI Sridhar Anandakrishnan’s GHOST project on Thwaites Glacier in 2020/21. Engineer Jay Johnson deployed to Minna Bluff with the RAID project at the request of PI John Goodge and the NSF. In addition to consulting on operation of the RAID equipment, Johnson also used an IDP 4-Inch Drill and chips bailer to assist in setting the RAID packer. He also re-terminated the IDLW cable following damage at South Pole and was assisted in this effort by Kuhl and Morton. The IDLW was then operated in two RAID boreholes by RAID and IceCube personnel. Despite substantial weather and aircraft delays program-wide, objectives were largely completed for all projects, and feedback received from PIs has been very positive.

IDP Engineer Grant Boeckmann (left) operates the Winkie Drill on Thwaites Glacier in the Hudson Mountains. Also shown is scientist Seth Campbell (center) and IDP Research Intern Elliot Moravec (right). Photo credit: Brent Goehring.

Engineer Tanner Kuhl operates the Blue Ice Drill with a new tower at Allan Hills. Photo credit: Jessica Tinker.

Testing of the new RAM 2 Drill components at WAIS Divide. Photo credit: Chris Gibson.

Driller Elizabeth Morton operates the new Foro 400 Drill and tent at Allan Hills. Photo credit: Tanner Kuhl.

Engineer Jay Johnson operating the 4-Inch Drill with the RAID platform at Minna Bluff. Photo credit: John Goodge.

Successful Support Across Antarctica

Several other projects supported by IDPO-IDDO were also successfully brought to a close during the quarter. Drilling efforts for the cosmogenic C-14 project on Taylor Glacier were completed for the third and final year. Out at Allan Hills, an IDDO driller utilized an Eclipse Drill to successfully core three holes to bedrock, collecting precious ancient ice. A second Eclipse Drill project was completed at South Pole Station. Finally, after years of programmatic delays, IDDO was able to conclude its operations related to use of the DISC Drill at WAIS Divide. All equipment is now disassembled, packed, labeled and ready for return to the U.S. as flights allow. IDDO also successfully extended the borehole casing to allow for future logging operations, including planned logging during the 2016-2017 field season.

South Pole Ice Core (PI Aydin)
An IDDO team of seven engineers and drillers, led by Lead Driller Jay Johnson, successfully completed this two-year drilling endeavor at South Pole Station, achieving a final borehole depth of 1751 meters, 251 meters beyond the original goal of the project. All necessary retro cargo was readied for vessel and COMAIR transport back to the U.S., whereas the drill tent and other items were winterized for use again in 2016-2017.

WAIS Divide Deep (PI Albert)
IDDO Driller Jim Koehler arrived at WAIS Divide on 1/14/16, following weather and aircraft delays, and worked expediently to prepare the remaining DISC Drill items for return shipment to the U.S. Koehler also worked with ASC personnel to extend the borehole casing to two feet above the Arch floor level.

The borehole casing extension at WAIS Divide, Antarctica. Credit: Jim Koehler

Taylor Glacier Blue Ice Cores (PI Petrenko)
IDDO Driller Mike Jayred operated the Blue Ice Drill (BID) in support of PI Vas Petrenko's C-14 of atmospheric methane fieldwork at Taylor Glacier. All science samples were successfully collected, with over 480 meters of core drilled over 35 drilling days. In total, over 40 holes were completed through approximately 530 drill runs. IDDO support of this three-year project is now concluded.

Driller Mike Jayred attaches Blue Ice Drill cargo to a waiting helicopter at Taylor Glacier, Antarctica. Credit: Heidi Roop

Climate Controls on Aerosol Fluxes in Taylor Valley (PI Aciego)
IDDO Driller Mike Jayred operated the Blue Ice Drill (BID) in support of PI Sarah Aciego's aerosol fluxes fieldwork at Taylor Glacier. All science samples were successfully collected in early November 2015, with 20 meters of core collected during this short duration project.

Allan Hills (PI Higgins)
IDDO Driller Mike Waszkiewicz operated an IDDO Eclipse Drill at Allan Hills in support of PI John Higgins' ancient ice fieldwork. All science samples were successfully collected. Each of the two planned holes were drilled to bedrock, with the first hole drilled to a depth of 100 meters and the second hole to a depth of 205 meters. The team was also able to re-enter a third hole that was originally drilled in 2011, coring an additional 20 meters of what is believed to be million year old ice.

Drilling tent and Eclipse Drill in operation at a snowy Allan Hills, Antarctica. Credit: Mike Waszkiewicz

South Pole Firn Air (PI Sowers)
Trevor Popp, an American driller and scientist working at the Centre for Ice and Climate in Copenhagen, Denmark, operated an IDDO Eclipse Drill at South Pole in support of PI Todd Sowers' firn air sampling campaign. In early November 2015, Popp set up the drill and began drilling without incident. Firn air sampling was progressing well until the firn air bladder provided by and operated by the science team became stuck in the borehole at 100 meters depth. Following unsuccessful efforts by the science team, IDDO, and ASC to retrieve the firn air sampling equipment, the hole was abandoned and efforts were redirected to drilling of the second hole, which was successfully drilled to 128 meters. Core quality was excellent throughout and the penetration rate was exceptional.

Hand Augers
During the 2015-2016 Antarctic field season, IDDO supported ten investigators through the deployment of a variety of hand auger and Sidewinder kits. The hand auger kits are currently en-route back to the U.S. via the cargo vessel.

Crary Ice Rise Shot Holes (PI Conway)
IDDO supplied PIs Twit Conway and Paul Winberry with a Small Hot Water Drill to create shot holes for their Crary Ice Rise seismic work. All shot holes were successfully drilled by the science team, and the equipment is currently onboard the cargo vessel headed to the U.S.

Exposed Rock Beneath the WAIS (PI Stone)
In anticipation of the upcoming 2016-2017 fieldwork, IDDO shipped borehole casing and drill rod for the ASIG Drill to Antarctica via the resupply vessel. These items are planned for use during the 2016-2017 field season to support PI John Stone's fieldwork near Pirrit Hills. The borehole casing and drill rods were shipped early to reduce ASC's shipping costs and to allow the cargo to be flown to West Antarctica in 2016-2017 on flights of opportunity.

Beneficial, User-Identified Upgrades Made to IDDO Small Hot Water Drill

Based on excellent feedback from the Principal Investigators (PIs) and science teams who frequently use the IDDO Small Hot Water Drills (SHWD) for seismic work, IDDO worked during the Third Quarter (May 1, 2015 - July 31, 2015) to implement several beneficial upgrades to the system, including new fittings, hose, a new nozzle and added safety features in addition to maintenance of the heaters and power unit. Working closely with engineers and summer students at the UW Physical Sciences Lab (PSL) in Stoughton, WI, IDDO has benefitted from the wealth of hot water drilling knowledge located there, as several of the engineers at PSL participated in the design and operation of the Enhanced Hot Water Drill used for the IceCube project. This synergistic relationship is expected to continue, as IDDO looks toward another tier of upgrades to the SHWD in PY 2016 (November 1, 2015 - October 31, 2016). The system pictured below will be shipped to Antarctica in September and used by PIs Howard Conway and Paul Winberry to create shot holes for seismic work to investigate the grounding line dynamics of the Crary Ice Rise.

The Small Hot Water Drill set-up at PSL for testing/upgrade. Credit: Terry Benson, UW Physcial Sciences Lab

IDDO Continues Collaboration with UW PSL Hot Water Drilling Experts to Make User-Identified Upgrades to Small Hot Water Drills

During PY 2014, IDDO worked with hot water drilling colleagues at the University of Wisconsin Physical Sciences Lab (PSL) to develop maintenance and upgrade plans for IDDO's aging Small Hot Water Drill (HWD) systems. The engineers at PSL were heavily involved with the design and operation of the very successful Enhanced Hot Water Drill for the IceCube project as well as the Askaryan Radio Array (ARA) Hot Water Drill for the more recent ARA project at the South Pole Station. Throughout PY 2015 and PY 2016, IDDO plans to work with the PSL engineers to specify and purchase many new components for the IDDO Small HWDs based on user feedback, as almost exclusively the PIs and their science teams operate these drills. During the Second Quarter, IDPO-Dartmouth organized a virtual meeting that enabled scientist-users of the drill an opportunity to see the planned upgrades and provide feedback to IDDO. The upgraded Small HWD, with a depth capability of 0-60 meters, will complement the planned Scalable Hot Water Drill, which is scalable in depth range from 60-1000 meters, depending upon individual project needs. Late in the quarter, assembly and testing of the existing Small HWD equipment was underway and IDDO plans to purchase upgraded components beginning in the Third Quarter.

The Small Hot Water Drill set-up at PSL for testing/upgrade. Credit: Terry Benson, UW Physcial Sciences Lab

Successful Project Support Amidst an Uncertain Antarctic Field Season

Despite uncertainties surrounding and delays stemming from the government shutdown in Fall 2013, Antarctic fieldwork was successfully completed for IDDO-supported projects.

Taylor Glacier (PIs Aciego and Petrenko)
On Taylor Glacier in the Dry Valleys Region, IDDO driller Mike Jayred and IDDO engineer Josh Goetz successfully collected over 1300 meters of large-diameter ice cores using the Blue Ice Drill. Despite an intensely windy field season, project objectives were achieved for both PI Vas Petrenko and PI Sarah Aciego.

Driller Mike Jayred operating the Blue Ice Drill on Taylor Glacier.

Siple Dome (PIs Bay and Talghader)
Due to the government shutdown, the U.S. Antarctic Program decided against opening WAIS Divide Camp this season. This has delayed borehole logging operations at WAIS Divide by one field season, but is not expected to negatively impact the disassembly and removal of the DISC Drill from the site, which is now scheduled to occur in 2014-2015. Due to the impact of the shutdown on the logging operations planned for WAIS Divide, PIs Joey Talghader and Ryan Bay altered their project plans to complete less logistically-intense logging projects at Siple Dome this season, both of which were originally planned for the 2014-2015 field season. Assisting in their operations were Josh Goetz and driller Elizabeth Morton. Despite severe flight delays and poor weather at Siple Dome, a very successful maiden voyage of IDDO's new Intermediate Depth Logging Winch helped to complete all project objectives.

The new intermediate logging winch for logging boreholes up to 1500 meters deep.

The intermediate depth logging winch in operation at Siple Dome.

Beardmore Glacier (PIs Conway and Winberry)
PIs Howard Conway and Paul Winberry utilized a Small Hot Water Drill once again to successfully drill over 100, 25-meter deep holes for seismic research on Beardmore Glacier, completing the second season of their two-year project.

Shallow Hand Auger Drilling (various PIs)
A number of shallow drilling projects were completed by PIs through the use of hand auger kits provided by IDDO, including two PICO hand auger kits, three SIPRE hand augers, two Sidewinder power drive kits and five new IDDO hand auger kits. The newly designed IDDO hand auger kit has shown excellent results thus far and IDDO continues to collect user feedback on the kit's performance.

The new IDDO hand auger kits packed and ready for shipment to Antarctica.

IDDO hand auger kit contents.

Requesting Field Support

If you are preparing a NSF proposal that includes any kind of support from IDP, you must include a Letter of Support from IDP in the proposal. Researchers are asked to provide IDP with a detailed support request three weeks prior to the date the Letter of Support is required. Early submissions are strongly encouraged.

Program Information

The U.S. Ice Drilling Program (IDP) is a NSF-funded facility. IDP conducts integrated planning for the ice drilling science and technology communities, and provides drilling technology and operational support that enables the community to advance the frontiers of climate and environmental science.