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Hot water drilling in Antarctic ice
Authors: World Pumps
Year: 2012
Periodical/Journal: World Pumps

This December, European survey engineers will brave -35°: temperatures to drill 3 km below a lake in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in an ambitious scientific mission to collect sub-glacial samples at greater depth. The mission will employ a borehole-drilling technique using four enhanced pumps with positive-displacement triplex technology to provide high-pressure hot water during the drilling.

The British Antarctic Survey's (BAS) Lake Ellsworth programme, in development for nearly 15 years, will finally be under way this December. Over a period of three days, engineers will sink a 360 mm-diameter borehole through the solid ice and drill continuously through the ice at temperatures below -20°:C, using a constant supply of water at 90°:C pumped at a pressure of 2,000 psi via four Cat Pumps.

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