In 2015, IDP purchased a commercially-available rock coring Winkie Drill system from Minex. IDP subsequently worked to upgrade the system to add ice augering and ice coring capabilities. The system has a depth capability of 120 meters with AW34 sized drill rods. All components of the Winkie Drill system can fit in a Twin Otter or similar-sized aircraft.
The ice augering capability of the system was initially tested outside of McMurdo Station, Antarctica in February 2016. The system then underwent more comprehensive testing in Madison prior to its shipment back to Antarctica in September 2016 for a funded field project in 2016-2017. The drill performed well during that initial season, 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 as well as the replacement of the gas engine for 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. Drill rod and casing were shipped to Antarctica in September 2018 in advance of a planned project at Thwaites Glacier during the 2019-2020 field season.
This 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.
|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) White Paper: 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) White Paper: 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) White Paper: 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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