Drill, Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG)

2016 Winter

Successful Deployment of IDDO's Two New Rock Coring Drills

In the first quarter, IDDO's Antarctic field efforts included the successful deployment of two new rock coring drills.

The Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill was deployed to the Pirrit Hills (PI John Stone; I-277-M) by traverse from WAIS Divide in December. IDDO Drillers Tanner Kuhl, Mike Jayred and Clayton Armstrong recovered more than 7 meters of ice core and 8 meters of rock core at a depth of 150 meters. Development of the new drill system, which is based on a field-proven minerals exploration drill rig, was completed in PY 2016. The system is capable of coring rock below 700 meters of ice. IDDO will work during the upcoming summer to perform maintenance and upgrades on the system to ready it for future field work.

ASIG Drill in operation at Pirrit Hills. Credit: Tanner Kuhl.

IDDO drillers Clayton Armstrong (at left) and Mike Jayred (at right) operating the ASIG Drill at Pirrit Hills. Credit: Tanner Kuhl.

A section of the 8 meters of rock core collected with the ASIG Drill. Credit: Tanner Kuhl.

2016 Fall

Equipment Development

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
During the fourth quarter, IDDO completed all of the system modifications, repairs and upgrades identified during testing performed in the second quarter. The system was shipped to Port Hueneme, CA, in mid-September for use this coming Antarctic field season on PI John Stone's project (see Field Support to Antarctic Projects above).

2016 Summer

Equipment Development

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
During the third quarter, IDDO worked to complete system modifications, repairs and upgrades identified during testing performed in the second quarter. The system is expected to ship to Antarctica in September. Validation and verification are now underway and documentation will be completed in the fourth quarter.

2016 Spring

ASIG Drill North American Testing Successfully Completed in New Proof of Concept Ice Well

During the Second Quarter, IDDO Project Manager and Lead Mechanical Engineer, Chris Gibson, brought the concept of a temporary ice well testing facility to life. Using a cased hole in the ground on the University of Wisconsin Physical Sciences Lab (PSL) property just a 20-minute drive outside of Madison, Gibson designed a way to insert a smaller casing within the larger hole, run a chilled glycol loop between the two and fill the center casing with a column of ice, concrete, granite and mixed media, all to allow for a thorough test of the new Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill, which is planned for Antarctic deployment in 2016-2017. The test setup provided IDDO engineers with an invaluable opportunity to test the drill rig, make quick modifications with new parts through local and trusted vendors, and allowed for engineer and driller familiarization with the unit. IDDO welcomed several visitors to the test site, including personnel from IDPO, ASC, IDDO and the PI of the first funded project making use of the drill. While the well setup was only temporary for this test, its success serves as an excellent proof of concept for the installation of a more permanent ice well and testing/training facility, should funds allow in the future. Testing in Madison is far less expensive than test seasons in either Greenland or Antarctica, so IDDO will continue to explore this prospect in the future.

Preparing the temporary ice well at PSL for the North American Test of the ASIG Drill. Credit: Chris Gibson

The 10-inch (0.25 meter) ice column being formed in the casing insert. Credit: Chris Gibson

The ASIG Drill test site at the UW PSL. At left, the ASIG Drill rig sits on a wooden deck with hydraulic engines in blue covers and wire-line tower visible above pre-existing aluminum platform; at center, a 500 gallon (1890 L) diesel wagon; at right, the drill tent housing the chiller; frosted glycol supply hoses visible in foreground. Credit: Chris Gibson

2016 Spring

Equipment Development

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
During the Second Quarter, IDDO initiated full-scale system testing of the Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill outside of Madison, Wisconsin on the UW Physical Sciences Lab (PSL) campus. IDDO engineers, a contract driller and a trainer from the rig vendor, Multi-Power Products, LLC, were able to test a variety of operations, per the Test Plan drafted by IDDO Project Manager Chris Gibson, including the coring of ice, concrete, solid granite and mixed media. The team was also able to tune the rig, refine fuel and drilling fluid consumption rates, determine the expected operational parameters of the system, such as penetration rates, and identify and refine the spare parts list. The rig performed reliably and is expected to meet or surpass all related science requirements. IDDO hosted several visitors to the test site on February 26, 2016, including Bill Eustes, Blaise Stephanus and Mark Twickler from IDPO, as well as PI John Stone, as the drill system will be used first for his upcoming project in 2016-2017 near Pirrit Hills in Antarctica. Leah Street from ASC, in Madison on other business, was also able to visit the site, as well as several other IDDO personnel. Late in the quarter, IDDO engineers quickly transitioned to system modifications, repairs and upgrades, in anticipation of shipping the system to Antarctica in September.

2015 Winter

Successful Support Across Antarctica

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.

2015 Winter

Equipment Development

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
During the First Quarter (Nov-Jan), initial sub-system testing was concluded for the Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill components, and preparations were ramped up for the upcoming North American Test of the drill. A temporary ice well was constructed outside of Madison on the UW Physical Sciences Lab property. Project Manager Chris Gibson and other IDDO engineers worked to ready all equipment for the multi-week test planned for late February 2016. Extensive work on documentation was also initiated, including refinement of the test plan, drafting of an equipment lab testing report, updating of the system's Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) document, and creation of a safety training presentation.

Preparing the temporary ice well at PSL for the North American Test of the ASIG Drill. Credit: Chris Gibson

2015 Summer

Equipment Development

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
Purchasing efforts ramped up for the Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill project. A web/teleconference review of the Integrated Detailed Final Design was held on May 28, 2015 with participation from IDPO, IDDO and SSEC engineers and several experts and colleagues from various drilling industries. Project Manager Chris Gibson worked with the manufacturer of the base rig (Multi-Power Products Ltd. in British Columbia, Canada) to resolve issues identified in Madison during initial Acceptance Testing. The manufacturer has subsequently completed all rework of system components that did not originally meet the weight specifications outlined in the contract. Planning efforts have increased for the upcoming test of the drill's packer device (for sealing the borehole casing to non-porous ice) near McMurdo Station during February 2016, and for the larger-scale ASIG Drill system test planned in Madison, WI, during the upcoming winter.

2015 Spring

IDDO Receives Minerals Exploration Rig; Enters Exciting New Avenue of Subglacial Rock Coring

On April 13, 2015, IDDO received a new minerals exploration drill rig, purchased from Multi-Power Products Ltd. in British Columbia, Canada. This base rig will serve as the primary component in IDDO's development of the new Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill system. The relatively compact system will be able to drill access holes through ice less than 700 m thick and subsequently collect bedrock cores from beneath glaciers. IDDO engineers, led by Project Manager and IDDO Lead Mechanical Engineer Chris Gibson, are now designing and fabricating auxiliary systems such as ice coring attachments and fluid and ice chip handling and filtration systems to complement the base rock coring drill for use in the polar regions. The ASIG Drill system will be built-up over the next year, with its first deployment to Antarctica expected in September 2016. Receipt of this rig marks entry into an exciting new avenue of drilling for IDDO, whose previous work has primarily focused on drilling ice cores and creating access holes in ice.

After its first use in Antarctica during the 2016-17 field season, the ASIG Drill system is expected to be available again for community use beginning in ~September 2017. For more information about using the ASIG Drill, contact IDPO-IDDO at IceDrill@Dartmouth.edu .

The new minerals exploration drill rig for the ASIG Drill system.

The control panel for the ASIG Drill system.

2014 Winter

ASIG Drill Development Project Paves the Way for Subglacial Access

Initiating work in PY 2014, IDDO continued with design efforts in the development of the new Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill. The relatively compact system will be able to drill access holes through ice and subsequently collect bedrock cores from beneath glaciers. Such capability was identified as a high priority in the U.S. Ice Drilling Program's Long Range Science Plan. The new drill is based on a commercially-available minerals exploration rig, currently in production, with IDDO designing and fabricating auxiliary systems such as ice coring attachments, fluid, and ice chip handling and filtration systems. As the Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID) project works to fabricate and test a larger-scale system based on similar principles, the staffs at IDDO and RAID have worked well in communicating ideas with one another, taking advantage of synergistic opportunities between the two development projects.

2014 Summer

New Technology for the Community

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
Excellent progress was made on the Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill during the Third Quarter, with the conceptual design readied for several reviews. On July 29, an internal review of the concept was held at IDDO, reviewing the project concept from a cost, scope and schedule perspective, as well as from an engineering perspective. On July 31, Mary Albert hosted a subsequent external review via Adobe Connect in which several community scientists and a former drilling engineering professor were able to ask questions after a presentation on the system. Overall, the conceptual design received excellent reviews and IDDO now looks forward to the next steps of purchasing the base drill rig and designing and fabricating all auxiliary equipment. Late in the quarter, IDDO was finalizing a Request For Proposals document, which will be sent out to mineral exploration rig vendors. IDDO plans to complete the fabrication and assembly of the drill system on time for its first deployment during the 2016-2017 Antarctic field season, and is also planning for a test of the system in North America sometime in late 2015 or early 2016.

2014 Spring

New Technology for the Community

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
Good progress was made on the Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill during the Second Quarter with the science requirements being finalized in early February. The science requirements were the result of an iterative process between IDPO, IDDO and scientists interested in the drill, as with the SHWAD. Bill Eustes visited IDPO-Dartmouth in March, where discussion issues with Albert and engineer Tanner Kuhl included aspects of the sub-ice geologic drill development. Albert traveled to IDDO in March to participate in IDPO-IDDO discussions with representatives from Sandvik. Finalization of the concept for the drill, which will be designed to drill through up to 700 meters of ice and then retrieve a small diameter rock core 10-meters long, and review of the concept will take place this summer when Tanner Kuhl returns from Greenland.

2013 Winter

Equipment Development

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
One of the goals for development of new drills identified in the IDPO Long Range Science Plan is the need for agile methods for reconnaissance recovery of small rock cores near ice margins. In response to this, IDPO-IDDO has initiated work on a new Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill capable of coring up to 10 meters of rock core beneath hundreds of meters of ice. The Science Requirements for this drill were developed in an iterative process led by Mary Albert with community representatives John Stone, Jaakko Putkonen, and Ed Brook, and with IDDO engineer Tanner Kuhl. The Science Requirements are available at http://icedrill.org/documents/view.shtml?id=1175. IDPO-IDDO is currently investigating partnership with a small minerals exploration drill manufacturer for development of this drill. The first use of this drill is planned for Antarctic field season 2015-2016 for recovery of rock pieces under several hundred meters of ice. Questions or comments should be sent to Mary Albert.

2013 Fall

Equipment Development

Shallow Basal Material Recovery Drill
One of the goals identified in the IDPO Long Range Science Plan 2013 is the need for nimble methods for reconnaissance recovery of small rock cores near ice margins. In response to this, IDPO-IDDO is initiating work on a new Shallow Basal Material Recovery Drill designed primarily to retrieve bedrock samples beneath ice that is up to 200 to 300m thick, and will be easily transportable. The first use of this drill is planned for Antarctic field season 2015-2016 for recovery of rock pieces under several hundred meters of ice.


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Requesting Ice Drilling Support

If you are preparing a proposal that includes any kind of support from the IDPO-IDDO, you must contact IDPO ( IceDrill@Dartmouth.edu ) at least six weeks before you submit your proposal to obtain a Letter of Support and a Scope of Work document that MUST be included in your proposal.
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Program Information

The U.S. Ice Drilling Program 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.
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