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IceCube Enhanced Hot Water Drill functional description
Authors: Benson T, Cherwinka J, Duvernois M, Elcheikh A, Feyzi F, Greenler L, Haugen J, Karle A, Mulligan M, Paulos R
Year: 2014
Keywords: Antarctic glaciology, Arctic glaciology, polar firn, subglacial lakes
Periodical/Journal: Annals of Glaciology
Volume: 55
Number: 68
Page Range: 105-114

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory was constructed at the South Pole during the 2004/05 to 2010/11 austral summer seasons. IceCube transforms 1 m3 of Antarctic ice into an astrophysical particle detector composed of 86 cables (strings) of optical sensors buried deep beneath the surface. Each string required drilling a borehole ~60 cm in diameter to a depth of 2500 m. The 5 MW Enhanced Hot Water Drill was designed and built specifically for this task, capable of producing the required boreholes at a rate of one hole per 48 hours. Hot-water drilling on this scale presented unique challenges and was rich in lessons learned, yielding a collection of notable developments and takeaways (e.g. fuel-saving measures, thermal modeling, firn drilling and closed-loop computer control). Descriptions of system functionality and of lessons learned from IceCube drilling are presented.

DOI: 10.3189/2014AoG68A032
URL: View document