The Winkie Drill is a commercially-available rock coring system originally purchased by IDP in 2015. IDP has implemented upgrades to add ice augering and ice coring capabilities. The system has a depth capability of 120 meters and creates ice and rock cores 33.4 mm in diameter.
The system was deployed on its first science project during the 2016-2107 season. The drill performed well, drilling 8 holes between 12-54 meters depth. Rock cores between 28-67 cm in length were collected in five of the holes and a semi-consolidated sediment core was retrieved from one hole. Modifications were subsequently made to accommodate a request for larger core diameter (71.7 mm) as well as replacement of the gas engine with an electric motor, for improved reliability and to allow for operation within a tent. The drill was again used successfully during the 2017-2018 season in Ong Valley, Antarctica, where two continuous mixed-media cores were collected to a depth of 9.45 meters and 12.36 meters. In 2018, IDP engineers incorporated modifications for use of the drill in areas where surface firn covers the ice and bedrock below. The modifications proved successful during the 2019-2020 season, with the drilling of six access holes and collection of three bedrock samples between 34-41 meters depth. In 2020 and 2021, IDP built up a second Winkie Drill, referred to as Winkie 2, to meet funded field project demands. In early 2021, IDP engineers tested a new ice bit outside of Madison, WI. Several IDP staff members received preliminary hands-on training during this test. A new fluid chiller was also designed, fabricated and tested to mitigate warm temperatures and drilling-related challenges witnessed on Thwaites Glacier.
The Winkie Drill is one of two rock coring drills in the IDP inventory (see also ASIG Drill).
Rock Coring; Ice Coring/Augering
|Number in Inventory||
Number in Inventory
|Max. Practical Depth||
Max. Practical Depth
120 m using standard AW34 drill rod. Designed as a rock drill so should also be possible with enough time and fluid to drill 120 m of rock core.
50 - 52 mm (augering)
|Ice Core Diameter||
Ice Core Diameter
|Ice Core Length||
Ice Core Length
|Rock Core Diameter||
Rock Core Diameter
|Rock Core Length||
Rock Core Length
|IDP Driller Required?||
IDP Driller Required?
Yes, 1 driller (2 people required for drill operation)
|Drill Fluid Required?||
Drill Fluid Required?
Generator 2.5 kW
|Estimated Drilling Time||
Estimated Drilling Time
Augering Ice: 0.4-0.5 m/min rate of penetration
|Time to Move (breakdown and setup)||
Time to Move (breakdown and setup)
3 hours (set up time)
|Light Aircraft Transportable?||
Light Aircraft Transportable?
|Shipping Volume (Cube)||
Current drill capabilities require the drill site to be blue ice up to the surface, without cracks, and frozen to the bed.
|Grant Boeckmann, Chris J Gibson, Tanner W Kuhl, Elliot Moravec, Jay A Johnson, Zachary Meulemans, Kristina R Slawny (2021) Adaptation of the Winkie Drill for subglacial bedrock sampling. Annals of Glaciology, 62, (84), 109-117. doi: 10.1017/aog.2020.73. https://doi.org/10.1017/aog.2020.73||2021|
|Mary R Albert, Kristina R Slawny, Grant Boeckmann, Chris J Gibson, Jay A Johnson, Keith Makinson, Julius Rix (2020) Recent Innovations in Drilling in Ice. Chapter 6 of Advances in Terrestrial Drilling: Ground, Ice and Underwater, Bar-Cohen and Zacny, eds., 157-220. https://www.routledge.com/Advances-in-Terrestrial-Drilling-Ground-Ice-and-Under…||2020|
|Allie Balter, Lucas H Beem, John W Goodge, Sean Gulick, Chloe Gustafson, David Harwood, Jennifer Lamp, Amy Leventer, Amelia Schevenell, Matthew R Siegfried, Perry Spector, John Stone, Slawek Tulaczyk, Sophie Warny, Paul Winberry, Dale Winebrenner, Duncan Young (2019) Assessment of East Antarctic Ice Sheet sensitivity to warming and its potential for contributions to sea level rise. Ice Drilling Program Subglacial Access Working Group Science Planning Workshop, March 29-30, 2019, Herndon, Virginia, USA, 1-18.||2019|
|Kristin Poinar, Jennifer Lamp, Allie Balter, Perry Spector, Dale Winebrenner, Slawek Tulaczyk (2019) Subglacial Access Working Group (SAWG): Access Drilling Priorities in Greenland. Ice Drilling Program Subglacial Access Working Group Science Planning Workshop, March 29-30, 2019, Herndon, Virginia, USA, 1-7.||2019|
|Perry Spector, John Stone, Nathaniel Lifton, Robert Ackert, Brent Goehring, Greg Balco, Bill McIntosh, Seth Campbell, Matt Zimmerer, Trista J Vick-Majors, Dale Winebrenner (2019) Drilling priorities to determine the past extent of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Ice Drilling Program Subglacial Access Working Group Science Planning Workshop, March 29-30, 2019, Herndon, Virginia, USA, 1-10.||2019|
|U.S. Ice Drilling Program (2019) Winkie Drill Operations and Maintenance Manual. 1-36.||2019|
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