Deep Logging Winch

Drill Development and Maintenance/Upgrade News

Assembly of the new 700 Drill is in full swing at IDP in Madison, WI. Mechanical assembly of the sonde is nearly complete, from the anti-torque section down to the cutter head. The control box and console are currently being wired, and electronics testing is underway. Shipping cases were ordered and received, and designs for the core handling and fluid/chips processing systems are now complete.

Elliot Moravec installs flights on the 700 Drill core barrels. Assembly of the sonde is nearly complete, from the anti-torque section down to the cutter head. Credit: Jess Ackerman.

Umberto Stefanini tests the 700 Drill electronics. Credit: Jess Ackerman.

IDP Engineers revisited the Deep Logging Winch to mitigate electromagnetic interference (EMI) issues previously witnessed in the field with several logging tools provided by community scientists. Through careful investigation and comparison with a winch at the UW Physical Sciences Lab, noise and communication lapses have been successfully mitigated by installing two filters and cleaning of slip ring contacts. The winch is now ready for issue.

Good progress is being made in preparing the Winkie and ASIG drills for the second season of the GreenDrill project in northeast Greenland in spring 2024. Maintenance was completed on the Winkie Drill packer and drive head and air compressors for the Winkie and ASIG drills. New core barrel components were ordered, received, and tested for the Winkie Drill to improve clearances when drilling in clay and mixed media, and a new slip foot clamp was implemented and tested.

Winkie Drill test setup at the IDP facility in Madison, WI. Credit: Elliot Moravec.

IDP Engineers test the new downhole components of the Winkie Drill. New core barrel components were ordered, received, and tested to improve clearances when drilling in clay and mixed media. Credit: Jess Ackerman.

2016-2017 Antarctic Field Season Wraps Up

In addition to the two sub-glacial rock drilling projects described above, IDDO successfully supported three projects at or near the South Pole, and one at WAIS Divide, during the 2016-2017 Antarctic field season. South Pole Ice Core (SPICEcore; PI Murat Aydin; I-164-S) operations were completed in just three years at South Pole, with 1751 meters of ice core drilled, one round of borehole logging (PI Ryan Bay; I-194-S) with the Intermediate Depth Logging Winch completed, and all equipment has now been removed from the site. Engineers Jay Johnson and Josh Goetz completed all remaining activities this season, with help from the science team onsite. Also near South Pole Station, drillers Mike Waszkiewicz and Elizabeth Morton completed a number of holes ranging from 5 to 125 meters depth using the IDDO 4-Inch Drill system (PI Michelle Koutnik; I-193-S). In West Antarctica, despite needing to make a last-minute operator change, borehole logging with the Deep Logging Winch was also successfully completed at WAIS Divide (PI Erin Pettit; I-166-M).

Laser dust logging of the SPICEcore borehole. Credit: Jay Johnson.

The IDDO 4-Inch Drill near South Pole Station. Credit: Mike Waszkiewicz.

Borehole logging at WAIS Divide, Antarctica. Credit: Elizabeth Morton.

Decommissioning of the SPICEcore drill site. Credit: Joe Souney.

New Technology for the Community (2014 Spring)

New Generation of an Intermediate Depth Drill
In the second quarter of PY 2014, IDDO completed the building, final testing, and integration and troubleshooting of the Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD) system. By April 15th, the entire IDD drill had been packed and shipped to Greenland for field testing. In spite of the extra effort needed for the building, testing and troubleshooting of four newly developed electronic boards and the electrical failure of the new Sorensen 600V Power Supply during the final testing, all equipment was fully tested and shipped to Greenland on time. The IDD drill will be used for PI Eric Saltzman's two-year South Pole Ice Core project (SPICE Core) during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 field seasons.

New Blue Ice Drill-Deep System
IDDO completed the building, final testing and integration, along with troubleshooting, of the new BID-Deep system. This new drill is a modification of the base Blue Ice Drill (BID) and has the capability of reaching depths of 200 meters. Final testing and packing was completed by the end of April, and the BID-Deep was shipped to Greenland in May for field testing. The base BID will be used on PI Vas Petrenko's project 10 km north of Summit.

Deep Logging Winch
The new IDDO Deep Logging Winch system, capable of logging to depths of 4,000 meters, is completely built, tested, packed, and ready for future field projects. The list of necessary spare parts is created, but the spares will not be purchased until a project utilizing the winch is funded.

"Clow" Deep Logging Winch
During the Second Quarter, the deep logging winch designed, built and operated by Gary Clow was transferred from the U.S. Geological Survey to IDDO. The winch is currently in Antarctica and will be used for the logging of the WAIS Divide deep borehole during the 2014-2015 field season. IDDO anticipates that the logging winch will be returned to Madison, inspected and repaired as necessary prior to use on any future projects.

Scalable Hot Water Drill
The science requirements for the Scalable Hot Water Drill (ScHWD) were completed in late February after several iterations between IDPO-IDDO and the scientists interested in the development of the drill. Engineering requirements based on the science requirements were completed by IDDO. The conceptual design of the ScHWD is nearly complete and an internal review of the drill concept was conducted in mid-May. An outside review of the drill concept will be conducted in early summer.

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
Good progress was made on the Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill during the Second Quarter with the science requirements being finalized in early February. The science requirements were the result of an iterative process between IDPO, IDDO and scientists interested in the drill, as with the SHWAD. Bill Eustes visited IDPO-Dartmouth in March, where discussion issues with Albert and engineer Tanner Kuhl included aspects of the sub-ice geologic drill development. Albert traveled to IDDO in March to participate in IDPO-IDDO discussions with representatives from Sandvik. Finalization of the concept for the drill, which will be designed to drill through up to 700 meters of ice and then retrieve a small diameter rock core 10-meters long, and review of the concept will take place this summer when Tanner Kuhl returns from Greenland.

Equipment Development (2013 Winter)

Deep Logging Winch
In the first quarter of PY 2014 (Nov-Jan), IDDO completed the building and testing of a new Deep Logging Winch, capable of reaching the depth of 4,000 meters. At the end of the quarter, the logging winch system required only the completion of the shipping container for the logging tower to be ready for shipment to the field.

The new deep logging winch for logging boreholes up to 4000 meters deep.

Intermediate Depth Drill
IDDO is in the final stage of the development of a new Intermediate Depth Drill, capable of producing ice cores to depths of 1,500 meters. In the first quarter of PY 2014, the procurement of all system parts and components was nearly completed. At the same time, most major assemblies, including the tower, the winch, and the sonde were completed and partially tested as well. Completion of several of the electronics modules, however, has lagged as the result of the responsibility for remaining design, fabrication and testing being assumed by contract engineers and a contract technician after the resignation of the IDDO staff electrical engineer last fall. After the completion of the system integration test in Madison in March of 2014, the entire system will be ready for a full field test in Greenland during the spring-summer of this year.

View of the Intermediate Depth Drill's chips chamber.

Blue Ice Drill-Deep
The Blue Ice Drill-Deep is a new drill based on the original Blue Ice Drill (BID) with the capability of reaching depths of 200 meters. The design and procurement of all drill parts and components were completed in the first quarter; all major assembly of new subsystems was completed as well. Modifications and repairs to the base BID, the final assembly of the BID-Deep Drill, and the lab testing will be completed after IDDO receives the base BID back from Antarctica. The BID-Deep system will be shipped to Greenland for testing and fieldwork this summer.

New winch/cable assembly for the BID - Deep.

Scalable Hot Water Access Drill
In response to community need for a scalable modular hot water access drill in the Long Range Science Plan, IDDO has started work on a modular hot water drill for the community. This drill will be useful for investigating sub-ice shelf mass balance, ice-ocean interactions, grounding zone processes, and other studies. Mary Albert worked with science community representatives Sarah Das, Dave Holland, and Ted Scambos, and with Chris Gibson, IDDO project manager and engineer and Terry Benson, a University of Wisconsin Engineer with hot water drill experience, through an iterative process to define the science requirements for a hot water drill whose size could be scaled to project needs. The Science Requirements for the Scalable Hot Water Access Drill are available at Questions or comments should be sent to Mary Albert.

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
One of the goals for development of new drills identified in the IDPO Long Range Science Plan is the need for agile methods for reconnaissance recovery of small rock cores near ice margins. In response to this, IDPO-IDDO has initiated work on a new Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill capable of coring up to 10 meters of rock core beneath hundreds of meters of ice. The Science Requirements for this drill were developed in an iterative process led by Mary Albert with community representatives John Stone, Jaakko Putkonen, and Ed Brook, and with IDDO engineer Tanner Kuhl. The Science Requirements are available at IDPO-IDDO is currently investigating partnership with a small minerals exploration drill manufacturer for development of this drill. The first use of this drill is planned for Antarctic field season 2015-2016 for recovery of rock pieces under several hundred meters of ice. Questions or comments should be sent to Mary Albert.

Agile Ice Coring Drill
In response to the need for an ice coring drill for depths between approximately 400-900 m and that is also agile for use in mountain glaciers and areas with limited logistics, IDPO will be working with community members and with IDDO engineers to develop Science Requirements for the drill. Any U.S. community scientist interested in participating in iterative discussions to identify the requirements should contact Mary Albert at

Equipment Development (2013 Fall)

Intermediate Depth Drill
Assembly of the various drill subsystems are in process for the Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD), and all assembly and preliminary testing of the IDD is expected to be completed on schedule for the field test in Greenland during the spring of 2014. Upon repair/upgrade from the field test, the drill will be shipped to Antarctica for use at the South Pole during the 2014-15 field season.

Deep Logging Winch
The manufacturer (Markey Machinery Co.) delivered the Deep Logging Winch in early September. IDDO personnel are in the process of completing the design of the winch sled and minor modification to the winch control system. The winch is scheduled for completion in early 2014.

Blue Ice Drill-Deep
IDDO is continuing with the development of the Blue Ice Drill-Deep (BID-Deep) system, based on the existing Blue Ice Drill (BID) system. The new system will be aimed at achieving a depth of 200 m and will eventually be used to acquire very large amounts of ice from Taylor Glacier that are needed for the study of cosmogenic carbon-14. The schedule for development is such that the first field test of the BID-Deep will be in Greenland in the summer of 2014.

Shallow Basal Material Recovery Drill
One of the goals identified in the IDPO Long Range Science Plan 2013 is the need for nimble methods for reconnaissance recovery of small rock cores near ice margins. In response to this, IDPO-IDDO is initiating work on a new Shallow Basal Material Recovery Drill designed primarily to retrieve bedrock samples beneath ice that is up to 200 to 300m thick, and will be easily transportable. The first use of this drill is planned for Antarctic field season 2015-2016 for recovery of rock pieces under several hundred meters of ice.

Rapid Access Hot Water Drill
During Program Year 2014, IDPO-IDDO is initiating the design of a new Rapid Access Hot Water Drill that has a modular capability to accommodate creation of access holes of different diameters from 500 m up to 2,500 m in depth. This drill will support requests from the community for investigating basal conditions and geothermal flux, sub-ice shelf mass balance, grounding zone processes, and sub-ice microbial ecosystems and biogeochemistry.

Equipment Development (2013 Summer)

Intermediate Depth Drill
IDDO continued work on the procurement of the Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD) parts and components and started system fabrication, assembly, and components testing. The final assembly of the entire system is planned to be completed by September 30, 2013.

IDPO-IDDO continued to work with the NSF Arctic Logistic contractor (CH2M Hill Polar Services) on the field logistics required for the 2014 IDD field test in Greenland. The Estisol-140 drilling fluid and borehole casing needed for the test were also purchased and are currently on vessel for delivery in Thule, Greenland for subsequent transportation to the field test site (the proposed Isi Station; ~3 miles due north of Summit Station) via the Greenland Traverse in April 2014.

Deep Logging Winch
The Deep Logging Winch system is currently in production and is scheduled for delivery to IDDO by August 15th by Markey Machinery Co. IDDO designed and placed a purchase order for the winch sled and, working with the winch manufacturer, modified the winch control system.

Blue Ice Drill-Deep
After finishing the design and fabrication of a new anti-torque and modifications of the cutter heads for the Blue Ice Drill-Deep (BID-Deep), IDDO successfully completed testing of firn coring capabilities in Greenland in May of 2013. IDDO plans to finish the entire BID-Deep design by September 30, 2013.

Blue Ice Drill firn coring testing in Greenland. Photo: Tanner Kuhl

DISC Drill/Replicate Coring System
By June of 2013, IDDO completed the preparation of many DISC/Replicate Coring System components for storage. Small repairs, upgrades, and the necessary component maintenance have been completed. IDDO also developed a comprehensive list of all mechanical and electrical subsystem modifications and repairs needed for the drill's future re-deployment.

Equipment Development (2013 Spring)

Intermediate Depth Drill
IDDO continued work on the design and fabrication of the Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD). On March 20, IDDO held a web-based Final IDD System Engineering Design Review with the South Pole Ice Core PIs, along with several members from the IDPO Science Advisory Board, the IDDO Technical Advisory Board, and IDPO personnel. The final system design has been approved, and IDDO is actively procuring IDD system components and support equipment. The presentation from the Final IDD System Engineering Design Review is available for download at:

Deep Logging Winch
IDDO finished specifications of the 4000-meter Deep Logging Winch and placed an order with Markey Machinery Company, Seattle, WA. On March 19, IDDO approved the certified drawings of the entire system developed by the manufacturer, and the winch is in the process of being produced.

Blue Ice Drill-Deep
IDDO finished the final design and procured all components for the modified Blue Ice Drill-Deep. The system has been completed and shipped to Greenland for testing by PI Vas Petrenko during the 2013 Arctic field season. Previously, the Blue Ice Drill had only been used to collected large diameter cores (9.5 inches) to depths of approximately 25 meters in blue ice. The modifications to the Blue Ice Drill are expected to allow it to now also collect large diameter cores (9.5 inches) in firn and to depths in excess of 100 meters.

Deep Logging Winch

Acquisition of a deep logging winch capable of logging boreholes 4000 meters deep is one of the high-priority items identified in the Long Range Science Plan. Through many IDPO discussions with the borehole logging community and with IDDO, a set of science requirements for a deep logging winch have been developed and are available at:

Erin Pettit, Ryan Bay, and Gary Clow will serve as the chief scientists for the deep logging winch development. The corresponding engineering requirements for the winch were developed by IDDO.

Three bids from manufacturers that are willing and capable of building the winch were received by IDDO and a "winner" identified. IDDO has started working with the manufacturer to ensure that the winch will meet the engineering and science requirements.

Requesting Field Support

If you are preparing a NSF proposal that includes any kind of support from IDP, you must include a Letter of Support from IDP in the proposal. Researchers are asked to provide IDP with a detailed support request three weeks prior to the date the Letter of Support is required. Early submissions are strongly encouraged.

Program Information

The U.S. Ice Drilling Program (IDP) is a NSF-funded facility. IDP conducts integrated planning for the ice drilling science and technology communities, and provides drilling technology and operational support that enables the community to advance the frontiers of climate and environmental science.