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DISC Drill vs. Foro 3000 Drill Analysis
Authors: Jay Johnson (IDDO) and Matthew Kippenhan (ASC)
Year: 2017
Page Range: 1-24

In response to a directive in the U.S. Ice Drilling Program Long Range Science Plan 2016-2026, IDDO has undertaken a comparison of the existing Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) Drill system and an extended depth version of the existing Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD) system. The technology investment priorities, as listed in the Long Range Science Plan, were stated as such:

  • Prepare a comparison of total cost estimates for drilling at Herc Dome with DISC versus IDD- Deep, by adding a 3-m or 4-m sonde to the IDD and for extending the IDD capability to 2,800 m.
  • Develop a Conceptual Design for adapting the IDD for drilling to 2,800 m and for replicate coring with IDD using a whipstock.

The following excerpt from the companion Ice Drilling Design and Operations Long Range Drilling Technology Plan, June 30, 2016, echoes the pursuit of this analysis.

Per discussions between IDPO, IDDO and community scientists, the next deep U.S. drilling project is planned for Hercules Dome. IDDO is currently working with community representatives on a DISC Drill vs. Intermediate Depth Drill-Deep (IDD-Deep) analysis, to help determine which system should be used for drilling at Hercules Dome. Prior to this deployment, which is not anticipated before 2019-2020, the DISC Drill would need to undergo some level of modifications and repairs. The list of DISC Drill sub-systems that require repairs and maintenance includes, but is not limited to, the gantry cranes, centrifuge, screen cleaning and fluid handling systems, winch, tower, sonde and numerous surface control system electrical and software redesigns and upgrades. Should the next drilling assignment be in East Antarctica, several key components of the drill will require additional modification/redesign in order to operate at down-hole temperatures at least as cold as -50C and perhaps as cold as -58C. If the IDD-Deep is chosen, IDDO will need to design, fabricate and test modifications to extend that system's capability from the current depth of approximately 1900 m to depths expected at Hercules Dome (2,800 m).

Since the writing of the 2016 Ice Drilling Design and Operations Long Range Drilling Technology Plan, the Intermediate Depth Drill-Deep (IDD-Deep) system has been renamed the Foro 3000 and will be referred to as such from here on. A conceptual design has been completed for the Foro 3000, which extends the existing IDD depth range to 3,000 m and core length capacity from 2 m to 3 m per run. A conceptual design to add replicate coring functionality to the Foro 3000 Drill is also currently being investigated.

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