The hand auger is the most basic of the mechanical drills and is driven from the surface by extensions that are added as drilling proceeds into the ice.
IDP primarily deploys three types of hand augers:
- IDDO: 3-inch (76 mm) and 4-inch (101 mm) cores
- Kovacs: 3.54-inch (90 mm) and 5.5-inch (140 mm) cores
- SIPRE: 3-inch (76 mm) core
The SIPRE, Kovacs, and short IDDO systems take half-meter cores, while the long IDDO systems take one-meter cores. IDP also has two remaining PICO 3-inch hand auger kits in inventory, which are occasionally requested for drilling in blue ice. Much of the PICO equipment has aged beyond its useful life and several PICO drills kits were decommissioned in early 2022. The maximum depth to which hand augers can be used without power assistance (see Sidewinder) is approximately 20 meters. Hand augers are typically operated by investigators without assistance from IDP equipment operators.
Hand augers are individually packed and assigned to investigators, depending on project needs. Augers for users traveling through McMurdo Station are individually packed by IDP and sent to the BFC (Berg Field Center) for distribution to the specified field project. Drills for use elsewhere are shipped directly to the individual investigators or to the field sites. IDP maintains eight copies of the 3-inch IDDO hand auger, three copies of the 4-inch IDDO hand auger and nine copies of the SIPRE hand auger.
The IDDO hand auger system is a small lightweight, portable drill system that is designed to take core from firn, but will also work in many kinds of solid ice. IDDO augers come in two different diameters: 79 mm (3.1-inches) or 101 mm (4.0-inches). Both models can be configured to take ½-meter or 1-meter long cores. The standard IDDO hand auger kit contains everything needed to take core to a depth of 20-meters. Customized kits are provided on request for deeper coring or lighter weight requirements. The IDDO hand auger may be hand or power driven. If power is desired, request the Sidewinder Power Drive.
The IDDO hand auger barrel utilizes a three flight/cutter design and is made of fiberglass composite pipe with metal-reinforced connection points to the coring head and extensions. The coring head contains three planar stainless steel cutters, and three possible options for catching/holding the core: a tapered head, a split ring collet insert, and core dog assemblies. A variety of penetration shoes and core dog springs also come with each hand auger system to allow adjustments for different cutting conditions. The extensions are hollow stem aluminum, which not only makes them lighter but also enables easy delivery of fluid to the bottom of the borehole if needed. Each hand auger system also comes with a gated extension support tool that can be managed with only one driller, and an extension recovery tool for fishing dropped extensions out of the borehole.
|Name||Hand Auger, IDDO|
|Number in Inventory||
Number in Inventory
|Max. Practical Depth||
Max. Practical Depth
20 m (30-40 m with Sidewinder)
110 mm (4.3-inches)
132 mm (5.2-inches)
|Ice Core Diameter||
Ice Core Diameter
79 mm (3.1-inches)
101 mm (4.0-inches)
|Ice Core Length||
Ice Core Length
up to 1 m
|IDP Driller Required?||
IDP Driller Required?
|Drill Fluid Required?||
Drill Fluid Required?
Hand-powered or Sidewinder
|Estimated Drilling Time||
Estimated Drilling Time
5 m - 2 hours
|Time to Move (breakdown and setup)||
Time to Move (breakdown and setup)
|Light Aircraft Transportable?||
Light Aircraft Transportable?
90 lbs for 20 meter kit
|Shipping Volume (Cube)||
While ethanol can be used to free a stuck SIPRE or Kovacs hand auger, only glycol should be used with the IDDO hand augers.
|U.S. Ice Drilling Program (2021) IDDO Hand Auger Kit Operations and Maintenance Manual. 1-20.||2021|
|U.S. Ice Drilling Program (2021) IDP Sidewinder Operations and Maintenance Manual. 1-21.||2021|
|Vladimir Aizen, Christine Foreman, Andrei Kurbatov, Erich Osterberg, Eric J Steig (2011) 10 year plan for Shallow Coring Capabilities (1-400 m deep). 2011 Ice Drilling Science Community Planning Workshop, April 15-16, 2011, Herndon, Virginia, USA, 1-5.||2011|
|Jay D Kyne, Joseph McConnell (2007) The SideWinder for powering a hand-coring auger in drilling and lifting. Annals of Glaciology, 47, 101-104. doi: 10.3189/172756407786857721. https://doi.org/10.3189/172756407786857721||2007|
|2019-2020 Antarctic - Thwaites-Amundsen Regional Survey and Network (TARSAN)|
|2019-2020 Antarctic - RAID Antarctic Field Trial (AFT) 3|
|2018-2019 Antarctic - Reconstructing Carbon-14 of Atmospheric Carbon Monoxide from Law Dome, Antarctica, to Constrain Long-Term Hydroxyl Radical Variability|
|2017-2018 Antarctic - Minna Bluff Firn Core and Firn Air Sampling|
|2016-2017 Antarctic - Characterization of Upstream Ice and Firn Dynamics affecting the South Pole Ice Core|
|2015-2016 Antarctic - RAID/ASIG Packer Test|
|2013 Arctic - Greenland: Greenland Aerosols and Methane Records|
|2011 Arctic - Greenland: Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network|
|2011 Arctic - Greenland: Greenland Ice Sheet Snow Accumulation Variability|
|2010 Arctic - Greenland: Summit Firn Air Cooling Feasibility Study|
|2010 Arctic - Greenland: Understanding the Physical Properties of Northern Greenland Near-Surface Snow|
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