A modification of the hand auger, the Prairie Dog includes a stationary outer barrel that allows operations in solid ice as well as firn. The depth limit is approximately 40 meters (with a Sidewinder). The system is commonly used in warm ice conditions where the two-barrel design aides in chip transport during coring. The system was used in both Wyoming and Montana in 2013 for ice patch coring and again near the Wyoming/Montana border in 2016 and 2018.
|Name||Prairie Dog Drill|
|Number in Inventory||
Number in Inventory
|Max. Practical Depth||
Max. Practical Depth
141 mm (5.6 inches)
|Ice Core Diameter||
Ice Core Diameter
98 mm (3.9 inches)
|Ice Core Length||
Ice Core Length
|IDP Driller Required?||
IDP Driller Required?
Yes, 1 driller
|Drill Fluid Required?||
Drill Fluid Required?
Hand-powered; 2 kW generator or solar cells if using the Sidewinder
|Estimated Drilling Time||
Estimated Drilling Time
5 m - 2 hours
|Light Aircraft Transportable?||
Light Aircraft Transportable?
|Shipping Volume (Cube)||
|U.S. Ice Drilling Program (2019) Prairie Dog Drill Operations and Maintenance Manual. 1-14.||2019|
|Jay D Kyne, Joseph McConnell (2007) The Prairie Dog: a double-barrel coring drill for 'hand' augering. Annals of Glaciology, 47, 99-100. doi: 10.3189/172756407786857703. https://doi.org/10.3189/172756407786857703||2007|
|2018 Arctic - Montana: Ice Patch Archives - Reconstructing ancient human and ecosystem responses to Holocene climate conditions in the northern Rocky Mountains|
|2016 Arctic - Wyoming: Biodiversity of the Longue Durée|
|2013 Arctic - Wyoming: Prairie Dog Drilling Near the Twin Lakes Ice Patches of Northern Wyoming|
|2013 Arctic - Montana: Exploring Internal Structures of Ice Patches in Glacier National Park|
|2010 Arctic - Greenland: Shallow Coring at Humboldt and Tunu Sites in Greenland|
|2010-2011 Antarctic - Geochemistry and Microbiology of the Extreme Aquatic Environment in Lake Vida, East Antarctica|
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Shipping weight/cubes does not include the generator, Sidewinder or 4-inch hand auger normally used with this drill.