Document DetailsThe Polar Ice Coring Office (PICO): Shallow and Deep Ice Coring and Drilling
PICO works closely with the faculties of the professional schools of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (Geophysical Institute, Institute of Marine Science, and School of Engineering). Research and development activities are carried out in support of PICO's needs by these faculties and students. It is essential to identify the requirements for an ice-coring project, then specify the type of drill and supporting equipment to meet these requirements for a given ice-coring task. Ice-core drilling systems must handle a variety of ice types from 0 degrees Celsius to -57 degrees Celsius, with varying pressure and physcial characteristics of the ice.
Numerous ice-core drilling systems have been developed and used over the past 30 years. All of these systems produce core by cutting, shaving, or melting the ice. Physical designs of the many varieties of coring devices vary considerably. Each project has unique requirements and requires an initial decision as to the most effective drilling system to be used. PICO has developed a variety of drills to meet the general needs of the U.S. glaciology community (Proenza et al., 1990). The choice of a drilling system can be represented as a decision tree (Fig. 1) (Rinaldi et al., 1990). The two systems can be subdivided into various categories, ranging from a lightweight hand auger to the much more complicated electromechanical deep ice coring system for use in fluid-filled holes (Fig. 2.). Table 1 further describes the capabilities of each type of drilling system, its use, depth capability, and core size. Approximate weight, power requirements, and fuel consumption are given to illustrate the expected logistic requirements associated with each ice-coring system.