IDP maintains and operates existing drills and borehole logging winches, and develops new systems with two principal foci:

  1. to provide high quality ice cores, and
  2. to produce boreholes that provide access to the interior and beds of ice sheets and glaciers for such purposes as embedding instruments, collecting gas samples, setting seismic charges, studying subglacial processes, studying subglacial geology, collecting subglacial bedrock core, and borehole logging.

4-Inch Drill

The 4-Inch Drill is an electromechanical ice coring drill that takes a 104 mm (4-inch) diameter core. Cores can be retrieved from depths down to approximately 400 meters. Winches with 100-, 200-, and 400-meter cables are available. The drill is of a mature design and has been used successfully for several decades. It is particularly useful on projects requiring a larger diameter core than produced by the Badger-Eclipse drills. Depending on configuration, the drill can be transported by light aircraft or helicopter.

An electrothermal version of this drill, which melts an annulus around the core, can be substituted for use in ice warmer than -10° C. Both versions use core dogs to break the core off and hold it for retrieval.

IDP is in the process of upgrading the 4-Inch Drill design. The upgraded drill design is referred to as the Foro Drill ('Foro' is Latin for "to bore, make a hole"), and the design of its sonde, winch, and tower reflects beneficial aspects of the Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD) design. In addition, the Foro Drill's new sonde design will also be submersible and watertight.

The 4-Inch Drill near South Pole Station, Antarctica, during the 2016-2017 summer field season. Credit: Mike Waszkiewicz

Beth Bergeron (left) and Michael Jayred (right) drilling a 130-meter deep ice core at WAIS Divide, Antarctica, during the 2006-2007 summer field season. Photo: Joseph Souney

The 4-Inch Drill in northeastern Greenland (near Tunu) during the 2013 field season. Photo: Olivia Maselli

IDP driller Beth Bergeron (right) drilling a 200-meter deep ice core in northeast Greenland (near Tunu) during the 2013 field season. Photo: Olivia Maselli

Equipment Details

Name 4-Inch Drill
Type Ice coring
Number in Inventory 2
Max. Practical Depth 300-350 m
Hole Diameter 145 mm (5.7 inches)
Core Diameter 104 mm (4 inches)
Core Length 1 m
IDP Driller Required? Yes, 2 drillers
Drill Fluid Required? No
Power Requirements/Source 220 V, 5 kW generator
Estimated Drilling Time 100 m - 30 hours
150 m - 50 hours
200 m - 75 hours
Time to move (breakdown and setup) 6 hours
Helicopter Transportable? Yes
Light Aircraft Transportable? Yes
Trench Required? No
Shipping Weight 2600 lbs
Shipping Cube 146
Comments Complete unit operating is ~1000 lbs. Heaviest component is winch (on sled) at ~500 lbs.