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Rapid Access Ice Drill: A Drilling System Equipped for Rapid Transit over Glacial Ice, Equipped for On-the-Fly Ice Coring and Subglacial Rock Coring, and Suitable for Regional Geological Mapping and Glaciology
Authors: Ice Drilling Design and Operations
Year: 2012
Keywords: RAID, fast access
Periodical/Journal: University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

The IDPO led an Ice Drilling Science Community Planning Workshop in April 2011 in order to identify compelling emerging science and associated drilling needs. From that workshop, an interdisciplinary goal was articulated that spanned a wide range of science targets, including understanding the Mid-Pleistocene transition from 40 kyr to 100 kyr climate cycles (by sampling ice as old as ~1.5 Ma), documenting the presence of Eemian-age ice to test models of ice sheet collapse in West Antarctica (~125 Ka), exploring the deep interior geology of Antarctica for the first time, evaluating the bed conditions at the base of the ice sheets, characterizing geological features that have been imaged with geophysical data, and testing models of cratonic growth related to supercontinent assembly in the Mesoproterozoic (~1 Ga). Based on a convergence of science goals, a general conceptualization of a rapid-access ice- and rock-coring drill was outlined by an ad hoc working group. The IDPO Science Advisory Board subsequently identified in the IDPO Long Range Science Plan 2011 a need to move forward with plans to develop a so-called Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID).

Beginning in October 2011, a series of discussions between representatives of IDPO, IDDO, industry and academia culminated in a feasibility study of a drilling technology that would simultaneously allow for ice coring, rock coring and borehole observation. Several drilling technologies were considered, but it was determined that a RAID system based on a mineral-exploration-industry "diamond-drilling" rig design provides the most suitable, technically feasible, and cost-effective approach. Several commercially-available drilling rigs have been identified that, with appropriate modification, have sufficient capacity to complete the drilling anticipated for the RAID project.

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