Foro 1650 Drill

(formerly known as the Intermediate Depth Drill or IDD)

IDP-WI Equipment Development and Maintenance Update

The third large compressor for IDP’s Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill received new plastic on its skis prior to shipment to Port Hueneme, CA, in mid-November. The compressor will travel on the resupply vessel to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, where it will be stored as a spare for the upcoming GHOST project (PI Anandakrishnan) on Thwaites Glacier.

Over the summer, the UW-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) secured additional space for IDP at the drill maintenance and warehouse facility. IDP’s electronics lab has been relocated to the new space, where the Foro 3000 and Foro 1650 Drill (previously referred to as the Intermediate Depth Drill or IDD) electronics are undergoing testing.

In preparation for the Detailed Design Review of the 700 Drill held on November 18, IDP engineers set up the Foro 400 Drill tent. The team believes a tent of very similar design could be used with the new drill slated to drill to 700 meters if fabrication is approved. A preliminary model of the 700 Drill subsystems can be seen below.

The skis for the RAM Drill’s third compressor.

Ron Koch inside the IDP electronics lab. The electronics lab is now located within the IDP drill maintenance and warehouse facility.

IDP engineers use the Foro 400 Drill tent to determine if proposed 700 Drill operations can utilize a similar tent layout.

A preliminary model showing the potential layout of the 700 Drill and its subsystems.

Equipment Updates (2018 Summer)

Foro 3000 Drill
IDDO continued initial development tasks for the Foro 3000 Drill system during the third quarter. Detailed design of the winch drum and level wind are in process. Sizing calculations were made and a design initiated for the chip melter system. Sonde assembly drawings were largely completed. Design work is expected to ramp up in the fourth quarter in preparation for a Detailed Design Review in late September.

Foro Drill
Anti-torque section assembly was largely completed and motor section assembly was initiated on the Foro Drill. Cabling was completed for the control box and drill motors were ordered. Shipping cases were received for the sonde, tower, and winch. Cutter head assemblies, spare cable terminations, and anti-torque slip rings were also received. Some assembly and testing have been delayed in light of work on higher priority projects, but procurements are largely complete.

Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill
Continued acceleration of RAM Drill design, procurement, and in-house testing. The system was prepared, packed and shipped to Scotia, NY in late June. In early July, IDDO received an Expedition Permit from the Government of Greenland, and a two-week field test was subsequently completed at Camp Raven in late July.

Intermediate Depth Drill
Models and drawings were completed for the winch cable terminations and spare cable termination kits were received for the Intermediate Depth Drill. System maintenance continues at a slow pace, as does the testing and troubleshooting of the Mage Controls components. The components, returned to Mage Controls at the end of the second quarter, are expected back at IDDO early in the fourth quarter.

Winkie Drill
Borehole casing was specified and purchased in preparation for the Winkie Drill's first use in West Antarctica at a drill site with overlying firn. IDDO sought information from international colleagues regarding methods to seal the bottom of the casing to the ice. Packer components, benchtop testing for compressed air inflation, and detailed models of packer components were also researched.

Blue Ice Drill (BID)
Maintenance and upgrade tasks were largely completed during the quarter for the BID-1. The drill was subsequently cleaned, packed and shipped for the upcoming Law Dome project in Antarctica. IDDO continued communication with BID tent vendor Fabricon. Engineer Tanner Kuhl visited the vendor's location in mid-July to review the design and progress thus far, and the tent was completed in mid-August.

Thermal Drill
The Engineering Requirements document for the Thermal Drill was approved and released. IDDO engineers worked to identify, procure and test some thermal and power limiting materials and components during the quarter. New heat rings were specified, as the old model is now out of production, and a number of new rings were ordered late in the quarter.

Hand Augers
Planned modifications for the cleat and locking break components of the SideWinder units were implemented on all five kits in inventory. Equipment was returned from Svalbard and Greenland and was repaired as needed. Orders were subsequently placed for replacement of a few components that were stuck in the ice during the 2018 Arctic fieldwork.

4-Inch Drills
Maintenance was completed for the 4-Inch Drill system that returned from Antarctica. One core barrel set was modified to match beneficial modifications made to another barrel set in inventory. An improved cable keeper for the crown sheave was designed, fabricated and implemented.

Eclipse Drills
A more robust top cover and new side panels were installed on the Eclipse Drill traversing system. Beneficial updates were made to the Operator's Manual. Small tools such as strap wrenches and sharpening stones were purchased for use in the field.

Equipment Updates (2018 Spring)

Foro 3000 Drill
IDDO continued initial development tasks for the Foro 3000 Drill system during the second quarter. Modifications were made to the Intermediate Depth Drill cutter head design that may make it possible to perform multiple core breaks during one drill run. This will be of value when drilling brittle ice with the Foro 3000 Drill. Detailed design of the winch drum was also initiated during the quarter.

Foro Drill
Fabrication of the Foro Drill core barrels was completed and all parts for the anti-torque and motor sections were ordered except for the actual drill motors for which IDDO expects to pursue quotes in the third quarter. The magnetic slide hammers were assembled, and load testing of the sled and hitch was completed. Shipping cases for the sondes, tower, and winch were also ordered.

Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill
Acceleration of RAM Drill design and procurement tasks continued to accommodate a potential test of the system in Greenland during summer 2018. All major component orders have been placed and electrical testing of the sonde was initiated. Initial testing for air pressure losses was completed.

Thermal Drill
Updated science requirements for IDDO's Thermal Drill were finalized at the end of February. A thermal or power limiting feature is being planned as part of the system upgrades, to help prevent premature heat ring failure. A benchtop testing procedure was initiated during the quarter and a number of thermal/power limiting options are under consideration. A manufacturer of suitable heat ring elements has been identified, and a core removal tool was designed and built making use of magnets to disengage the core dogs.

Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD)
The new 1650-meter long winch cable was spooled on the winch drum and was terminated, and the level wind controls were modified to work with the current emergency-stop system. Acceptance testing and troubleshooting of the Mage control system components continued. At the end of the quarter, the IDD's control system components were shipped back to Mage for further tuning.

Winkie Drill
IDDO is pursuing upgrades to integrate borehole casing with the current Winkie Drill system for a planned Thwaites Glacier project. Technology from the rock drilling industry and international ice drilling community is being researched.

Blue Ice Drill (BID)
Redesigned components for the BID tripod feet were received and installed during the quarter. A custom tent enclosure manufacturer was identified in April, and design of a tent and its integration with the BID tripod system has been initiated.

In summer 2017, IDDO worked to begin fabrication of a second BID-Deep system (for wide-diameter ice coring to 200 meters), based on user demand and per a directive in the IDPO Long Range Science Plan 2016-2026. Fabrication of the second system was initially scheduled for completion in Program Year (PY) 2018. However, there is no longer a funded science project this year that requires a second BID-Deep system, and therefore completion of the second BID-Deep system has been postponed to enable work on higher-priority projects in PY 2018.

Foro 700 Drill
The IDPO Science Advisory Board identified in the IDPO Long Range Science Plan 2015-2025 a priority need to alter the surface equipment for the existing Intermediate Depth Drill to make a drilling operation that is less logistically intensive, to be used for ice coring at sites with limited logistics and with two months or less time on site. From discussions organized by IDPO with iterative discussions between IDPO, scientists, and IDDO staff, the science requirements for a 'Foro 700 Drill' were completed during the second quarter. The next step is to develop the conceptual design for the drill, which could possibly happen in PY 2019 pending availability of funds and project prioritization.

Equipment Updates (2017 Winter)

Foro 3000 Drill
IDDO kicked off development of the Foro 3000 Drill system during the first quarter. The Foro 3000 concept builds on the Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD) system and will allow for deep coring down to 3000 meters depth. A detailed task list was developed and other important documentation such as the Project Management Plan and the Engineering Requirements were completed and formally released. Detailed design work was completed for updates to the IDD's anti-torque components to allow for accommodation of a larger-diameter cable. The IDD sonde design was also modified to allow for recovery of 3-meter long cores per drill run.

Foro Drill
Several Foro Drill components were received that were ordered in late PY 2017, including a spare winch gearbox, winch motor, load pin and tower tubing. Control box functionality testing was initiated. The sonde design is now finalized and fabrication has begun.

Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill
Design and procurement tasks were accelerated to accommodate a potential test of the Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill system in Greenland during summer 2018. Component purchases included a new hose reel and downhole motors and controllers. Initial subsystem testing has begun.

Thermal Drill
IDDO engineers researched potential vendors for new heat rings, as the former model is now out of production. IDDO also worked with IDPO and community scientists (Rick Forster, Lora Koenig, Peter Neff, Eric Steig) to iterate on a Science Requirements document before planned modifications are made to extend the Thermal Drill's depth capability to 300 meters, as is called for in the Long Range Science Plan.

Intermediate Depth Drill
Many Intermediate Depth Drill components ordered in late PY 2017 were received, including a spare winch gearbox, spare levelwind rollers, borehole pressure sensors, load pins with internal amplifiers, and the long-awaited Mage control system components.

SPICECORE Drilling Successfully Surpasses Depth Goal!

On January 23, 2016, a team of seven IDDO engineers and drillers concluded drilling operations at South Pole Station in support of the two-year South Pole Ice Core project (SPICEcore; PI Murat Aydin). Supported by the SPICEcore PIs and fantastic science techs, the team reached a final borehole depth of 1751 meters, surpassing the original target of 1500 meters! With NSF permission, the drilling continued within the originally established schedule and the extra meters collected have ensured that the much sought-after Laschamp Event has been captured in the core samples. Nearly 550 meters of core, enough to fill one refrigerated SAFECORE shipping container, are now on the cargo vessel bound for the U.S. In addition, the core storage trench at the South Pole is full of cores that will fill yet another SAFECORE container in February 2017. The cores will then be transported to the U.S. National Ice Core Laboratory for processing. IDDO disassembled and packed much of the drilling equipment and extended the borehole casing to allow for future borehole logging operations. A limited IDDO crew of 1-2 people will return to the site during the 2016-2017 season to assist with borehole logging, to disassemble and pack any remaining equipment, and to remove the drill tent with assistance from ASC and the science techs on site.

Driller Dom Winksi and Engineer Grant Boeckmann operate the Intermediate Depth Drill. Credit: IDDO.

The very last run of ice (1751 meters depth) inside the barrel of the Intermediate Depth Drill. Credit: Jay Johnson

Dr. Eric Steig, SPICEcore co-PI, cleans a run of core from 1600 meters depth. Credit: Jay Johnson

Equipment Development (2015 Summer)

Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
Purchasing efforts ramped up for the Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill project. A web/teleconference review of the Integrated Detailed Final Design was held on May 28, 2015 with participation from IDPO, IDDO and SSEC engineers and several experts and colleagues from various drilling industries. Project Manager Chris Gibson worked with the manufacturer of the base rig (Multi-Power Products Ltd. in British Columbia, Canada) to resolve issues identified in Madison during initial Acceptance Testing. The manufacturer has subsequently completed all rework of system components that did not originally meet the weight specifications outlined in the contract. Planning efforts have increased for the upcoming test of the drill's packer device (for sealing the borehole casing to non-porous ice) near McMurdo Station during February 2016, and for the larger-scale ASIG Drill system test planned in Madison, WI, during the upcoming winter.

Intermediate Depth Drill
Preparation is well underway for the second production season of the SPICEcore project at the South Pole. A new drill motor was purchased to replace one that sustained damage during the 2014-2015 field season. Work was performed to repair, standardize and test all circuit boards in the control system. Maintenance and repairs were initiated for the chip chamber, chip valve, hollow shaft assembly, pump and anti-torque slip sensor. Repair of the tower pendant was completed, with the addition of Teflon cabling for durability during contact with drill fluid. A power meter was also specified and parts for it were ordered. IDDO plans to ship all repaired and modified Intermediate Depth Drill equipment back to the South Pole in mid-September.

Science team members work in the South Pole Ice Core (SPICEcore) drilling tent cleaning the Intermediate Depth Drill and measuring ice cores. Credit: Peter Rejcek, NSF

Blue Ice Drill – Deep
Engineers monitored the progress of new cutters deployed for testing in Greenland, in an effort to improve Blue Ice Drill – Deep (BID–Deep) core quality. The drill was able to drill to approximately 155 meters using the new step cutters and trying a variety of other techniques before core quality was no longer acceptable. This is approximately 15 meters deeper than the prior year, but still short of the initial 200 meter depth goal. Interactions with the IDPO Science Advisory Board will determine if additional efforts should be made for quality core at greater depths.

Winkie Drill
IDDO received approval from IDPO to pursue purchase of a commercially available Winkie Drill from Minex. Following telecons with IDPO, NSF and Ohio Range project PIs Robert Ackert and Sujoy Mukhopadhyay, IDPO-IDDO determined purchase of this new rock coring drill would better serve the needs of the Ohio Range project to obtain rock samples from the ice-bedrock interface, and the larger community, as opposed to making repairs and modifications to the Koci Drill. The new Winkie Drill is also expected to prove useful for the joint RAID/ASIG auger and packer tests near McMurdo in February 2016. Necessary purchase orders have been submitted. Upon receipt of the rig, IDDO will make modifications to the Winkie Drill to expand its capabilities to include augering and coring through ice.

Rewarding Debut of Intermediate Depth Drill at South Pole Station

Despite weather, aircraft and program administrative delays, IDDO, together with the Antarctic Support Contractor (ASC) and project investigators, successfully completed the first season of the planned two-season South Pole Ice Core project near the South Pole Station. The project aims to recover a 1,500-meter ice core with IDDO's new Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD). A crew of seven IDDO engineers and drillers deployed in early November 2014 to Antarctica to begin set up of the drill site and installation of the IDD. Together with onsite PI, post-docs, and a graduate student core processing staff, the field team surpassed its seasonal drilling goal of 700 meters, collecting 736 meters in total. Nearly 600 meters of core, enough to fill one SAFECORE refrigerated shipping container, safely arrived to the National Ice Core Laboratory in Denver, CO, on March 4, where it will remain for processing this summer.

The SPICEcore team with the first core drilled on December 8, 2014. Credit: Mindy Nicewonger

Ice cores being transported to South Pole skiway. Credit: Leah Street

View of the drilling operation inside the drill tent. Credit: Murat Aydin

View of the core processing station inside the drill tent. Credit: Murat Aydin

Successful Field Test of IDDO's new Intermediate Depth Drill System in Greenland

Early in the third quarter, IDDO deployed a team of engineers and drillers to Summit Station, Greenland for a complete field test of IDDO's new Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD) system. Despite a delayed start to the season due to a mechanical issue with the LC-130 Hercules fleet, the IDDO team of six was able to successfully set up the entire drill system and put the equipment through its paces. Roughly 285 meters of ice core were drilled over the 14 days of testing, allowing IDDO engineers to test all of the new equipment. Twickler represented IDPO and participated in a site visit to the IDD test camp. All personnel returned to the U.S. on June 13 and the drill system followed in late June and early July. IDDO is now working to complete system repairs and modifications prior to shipping the drill to the South Pole station in late September for the South Pole Ice (SPICE) Core project. IDDO continued monthly teleconferences with ASC and the SPICE Core PIs in preparation for the IDD's deployment to the South Pole in November 2014. In addition, IDDO engineer/driller Tanner Kuhl attended the SPICE Core Planning Meeting in Centennial, Colorado on July 25, 2014.

Inside the un-insulated WeatherPORT tent for housing the drilling and core processing operations. Credit: IDDO

The IDD field test crew during a special visit from our Danish colleagues Steffen Bo-Hansen (second from right) and Trevor Popp (fourth from right). Credit: IDDO

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.

Changing Seasons for Field Project Support: Wrapping up a Successful Antarctic Season and Readying for a Bustling Arctic Season

The second quarter (February 1, 2014 - April 30, 2014) saw several Antarctic projects closed out, with final End-of-Season Reports submitted for the Blue Ice Drill's work on Taylor Glacier and for a successful first deployment of IDDO's new Intermediate Depth Logging Winch at Siple Dome. Later in the quarter, IDDO also worked hard to compile and review information for three Support Information Packages for the following 2014-2015 Antarctic field season.

Substantial efforts during the second quarter brought the final setup of IDDO's new Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD) to life. The majority of the equipment was shipped to Scotia, NY by the end of March, with certain critical components shipped shortly after. A team of six drillers completed the PQ process, and all travel arrangements for their deployment were made. The drillers deployed to Scotia on April 21, but were returned home on April 24, due to a mechanical issue with the LC-130 Hercules fleet. IDDO worked with the NSF, CH2M HILL Polar Field Services and the 109th Air National Guard to weigh options for an abbreviated test season and on April 30, the last day of the quarter, IDDO received a call that the northbound Greenland flights were back on. The IDDO crew made it to Summit, Greenland, on May 6 and had the first core drilled at the Isi test site on May 14. The testing of the Intermediate Depth Drill (in Greenland) is now finished. The last core was drilled on Saturday, May 31. The final depth of the test borehole is 285.3 meters. The drillers are now working on packing to prepare the first round of cargo for a flight to Kangerlussuaq on June 4. The remainder of the cargo is scheduled to fly to Kangerlussuaq on the June 10 flight. The drill team was able to complete all desired tests except for the brittle ice drilling test, due to the Hercules issue delaying the start of the field season.

Intermediate Depth Drill cargo in New York, ready for transport to Greenland.

IDDO continued monthly teleconferences with ASC and the SPICEcore PIs in preparation for the IDD's deployment to the South Pole in November 2014. In addition, engineer/ driller Tanner Kuhl attended the 2014 SPICE Core Planning Meeting at the University of California-Irvine.

IDDO worked with NSF, ASC and the dedicated cargo personnel in Scotia, NY to expedite the return of the Blue Ice Drill (BID) system to Madison after vessel-loading issues in McMurdo threatened to delay the return of much of the Antarctic cargo. The BID was needed in Madison in order for IDDO to implement new BID-Deep components and turn the system around for the upcoming Arctic field season. By the end of April, all cargo was packed for PI Vas Petrenko's upcoming project at Isi Camp, and driller Mike Jayred and engineer/driller Josh Goetz were PQed. Jayred and Goetz subsequently deployed on May 11.

Blue Ice Drill - Deep System at IDDO warehouse.

Blue Ice Drill - Deep winch and tripod assembly.

IDDO also prepared for a few upcoming hand auger projects in Greenland. Kits were packed and shipped for PI Sarah Das, who used one of IDDO's new 3-Inch hand auger kits to drill shallow cores at one site on Disko Island and at two sites on the Nussuaq Peninsula in late April. A hand auger and Sidewinder kit were packed and shipped for PI Erich Osterberg, who plans to drill cores up to 40 meters depth outside of Thule airbase in late May. Initial preparations were also made for the packing and shipping of hand auger and Sidewinder equipment for PI David Noone's project at Summit Station. Noone's field work in late June and early July will mark the fourth and final year of his four-year project. One additional hand auger project was completed early in the quarter for PI Mike McKay at Bowling Green State University. McKay utilized a new IDDO hand auger to collect river and lake ice samples in the Midwest US as well as in Canada. His project, funded through the NSF Division of Environmental Biology, is scheduled to continue into 2016.

In addition to field season planning and cargo preparation, IDDO also completed proposal support estimates for thirteen separate science projects for the 2014 NSF Antarctic Proposal solicitation. Letters of Support and Cost Estimates were provided to PIs for inclusion in their proposal submissions.

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.

Intermediate Depth Drill

IDDO continues to work on the design and fabrication of the Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD).

The design of the IDD is similar to the Danish Hans-Tausen Drill and Danish Deep Drill, with upgrades including a 2-meter core length. The IDD will be sufficiently portable (e.g. transportable by Twin Otter or similar size aircraft) that it can be used for coring at a wide variety of sites, and capable of retrieving 98 mm diameter core from the surface down to 1500 meters depth. All surface equipment is being designed for operation to -40oC, and all sonde components are being designed for operation to -55oC.

In addition to the drill itself, the IDD system will also include the following ancillary items: a core processing/ handling system; a centrifuge to recover the drill fluid from the chips created by drilling the core; a drill fluid handling system; vacuums to clean the drill cable and the core; a pilot hole system (polyethylene casing and reamers); a 4.9 m (16 ft) x 22.0 m (72 ft) x 2.8 m (9 ft) un-insulated Weatherport for housing the drilling and core processing operations; and a 3.0 m (10 ft) x 4.9 m (16 ft) un-insulated Weatherport for housing the generators.

On October 17, IDPO-IDDO held a virtual meeting, Science Review of the Intermediate Depth Drill, with the South Pole 1500m Ice Core PIs, along with several members from the IDPO Science Advisory Board, and IDPO personnel. If you are interested in the details of the IDD, we highly recommend that you download the presentation and minutes from the meeting at:

The IDD design process will be completed during the 2nd quarter of FFY2013, with the IDD Final Engineering Review scheduled for March 20 in Madison, WI. Fabrication of the drill is expected to begin during the second quarter.

The IDD will be field tested in Greenland during the summer of 2014, and deployed to Antarctica for the 2014-15 field season in support of the South Pole 1500m Ice Core project ( While the drill is being designed to be compatible with existing ice drilling fluids, the drilling at South Pole is planning to use either Isopar-K or, more likely, Estisol-140 as the drilling fluid.

The cutter head for the IDD is based on the Danish drill design, and has three cutters and three core dogs.

The Weatherport for housing the drilling and core processing activities is shown above. The IDD system also includes a separate Weatherport for housing the generators.

The tilting tower and winch, shown above, is a brand new design by IDDO using a lot of new technological advances from the DISC Drill. The tower is modular allowing it to fit inside a Twin Otter, or similar sized, aircraft.

South Pole 1500 m Ice Core

The University of California-Irvine (Saltzman, PI), University of Washington (Steig, PI) and University of New Hampshire (Twickler, PI) have recently been funded to obtain a 1500 meter ice core at the South Pole. Drilling is planned for 2014-2015 (~700 m, through the Holocene) and 2015-2016 (to 1500 m / 40,000 years). The drilling will be conducted with the new Intermediate Depth Drill currently under development by IDDO. The ice core obtained will be 9.8 cm in diameter, about 1/2 the volume of the WAIS Divide core, so availability of ice to the community will be less. Proposals to work on the core will need a letter of support from the South Pole Ice Core Executive Committee, currently composed of Eric Saltzman, Eric Steig, Murat Aydin, and Tom Neumann. If you intend to submit a proposal to work on the South Pole ice core, please let the Executive Committee know by sending an email to In particular, it is important to let them know if you have any special sampling needs, such as sampling in the field. Planning is already underway for the ice core trench; the intention is to process only minimally in the field.

In addition, the first planning workshop for the project is planned for Tuesday, March 19, Friday, February 22, 2013 at the Millennium Harvest House in Boulder, CO. The purpose of the workshop is to give scientists interested in participating in the South Pole Ice Core project an opportunity to discuss site selection, science goals, and analytical measurements, as well as an opportunity to coordinate the submission of science proposals (to analyze the ice) in June April, 2013. The intention is to have web-conferencing capability for the workshop so that people can participate in the workshop remotely, if desired. To help plan for the workshop, please let the PIs know (by sending an email to if you are interested in participating in the workshop, and if so, if you believe you will attend the workshop in person or via web-conferencing.

For the lastest information about the project, and to subscribe to the project's electronic mailing list, visit:

Intermediate Depth Drill Starts Taking Shape

IDDO made progress in design and systems procurement of the new Intermediate Depth Drill, based on the Danish Hans Tausen drill. In cooperation with Centre for Ice and Climate in Copenhagen, Denmark, several component designs are being modified and upgraded. With the help of a contract engineer and a new IDDO mechanical engineering research intern, the design work shows good progress. The winch, tower and anti-torque designs have been completed. Several components of the system, including a winch drum with Lebus groove and a Teflon coated cable, have been procured. The first system design review is scheduled for July 26th. IDDO expects to complete detailed design of the entire drill system by the end of calendar year 2012, with an aim to have an operational, tested drill by the end of FFY2014, in time for deployment to Antarctica for the 2014-15 field season.

New Intermediate Depth Drill winch and tower design.

New Intermediate Depth Drill anti-torque design.

Intermediate-Depth Drill (2011 Winter)

IDDO is undertaking the design and construction of an Intermediate-Depth Drill (IDD), based on the Hans Tausen drill, in cooperation with the Centre for Ice and Climate (CIC) in Copenhagen, Denmark. Agreement on the nature of the cooperation was worked out (exchange of information) between IDPO/IDDO and CIC in fall 2011. IDDO expects to complete the detailed design by the end of calendar year 2012, with an aim to have an operational, tested drill by the end of FFY2014, in time for deployment to Antarctica for the 2014-15 field season. During the first quarter (Oct-Dec 2011), IDDO personnel made substantial progress on the design of the drill winch and tilting tower before their deployment to WAIS Divide.

For more information about the IDD, visit:

Intermediate-Depth Drill (2011 Fall)

Development of an Intermediate-Depth Drill capable of retrieving cores to 1500 meters depth is underway. IDDO is undertaking the design and construction of the drill, based on the Hans Tausen drill, in cooperation with the Centre for Ice and Climate in Copenhagen, Denmark, who will provide drawings and technical information on the Hans Tausen drill to IDDO. While complete drawings do not exist, IDDO expects to complete the detailed design by the end of calendar year 2012, with an aim to have an operational, tested drill by the end of FFY2014, in time for deployment to Antarctica for the 2014-15 field season. The science requirements can be viewed/downloaded at:

Overview of Activities (2011 Spring)

The second quarter FY2011 yielded success on many fronts for IDPO and IDDO. Of particular note is the reaching of the drilling goal of 3,331 meters using the DISC Drill at WAIS Divide, Antarctica, becoming the deepest U.S. ice core ever drilled. The newly-developed Blue Ice Drill achieved and surpassed its design requirements at Taylor Valley, Antarctica for drilling large volumes of ice in a short amount of time; over 600 meters of high quality, large (9.5-inch diameter) ice core was recovered at a rate faster than anticipated. IDPO worked with the community and with IDDO to discuss implications of the science requirements for the future intermediate depth drill design, cost estimates, and potential collaborations. The most critical issues currently facing IDDO are the repair and updating of the DISC Drill after the 2010-2011 WAIS Divide field season and the development of the DISC Drill Replicate Coring System, which is scheduled for testing at WAIS Divide during the 2011-2012 Antarctic field season.

Intermediate-Depth Drill (2010 Winter)

IDPO continued to work with the science community to iterate between the community, IDPO, and IDDO on Science Requirements for an intermediate drill. IDDO continued to research capabilities of existing intermediate drills and suggested possible revisions/changes to the science requirements based on that research. IDPO provisionally approved the Science Requirements, which will be modified after the evaluation of capabilities of other drills, especially the Danish Hans Tausen Drill. Existing intermediate drills are expected to provide the model for the US Intermediate Drill. IDDO engineer Tanner Kuhl submitted a report on his observations of a new NZ intermediate drill at the NEEM site in Greenland and Engineering and Research Director Alex Shturmakov and IDDO engineer Jay Johnson are scheduled to travel to Copenhagen in February to discuss the design of the Hans Tausen Drill with the Danes and to assess the availability of drawings and specifications for use in the U.S. effort.

Intermediate-Depth Drill (2010 Fall)

The IDPO Long Range Science Plan identifies acquisition of an intermediate drill as a high priority item for the US research community. In FFY2010, IDPO initiated community discussions on the science requirements of the drill, which may be modeled after the Hans Tausen drill (or the NZ modification of that drill). In August, IDDO engineer Tanner Kuhl traveled to NEEM to observe testing of the NZ drill, in order to gain some first-hand knowledge about the drill. IDPO will finish the process of working with the community to come to consensus on the science requirements for an Intermediate Drill in the first quarter of FFY 2011. During FFY 2011, IDDO will create a Project Management Plan, IDPO-IDDO will confer with international partners to gain drawings and collaboration, and IDDO will provide cost estimates and a construction plan for an intermediate drill.

Planning for New Capability

In addition to soliciting input into the Science Plan, IDPO solicited input from the community with regards to a proposed intermediate depth drill, logging winches, and preservation of older boreholes for future logging. Draft science requirements will be circulated through the research community for comment soon for the intermediate drill and logging winch, and will also be discussed at the upcoming WAIS Divide meeting in La Jolla in September.

Development Highlights (January - March, 2010)

Replicate coring
In the second quarter FFY2010, design of the "actuated" anti-torques, which will allow the drill to be steered, was completed. IDDO ordered components for the prototype model of the anti-torque actuators and test fixture. A control program was written to allow testing of the mechanical system, and initial testing began. Replicate coring capability for the DISC Drill will be ready beginning with the 2011/12 Antarctic field season.

A new drill for intermediate depth drilling
A white paper justifying the need for an intermediate drill is in preparation by Eric Saltzman, Chair of SAB, and Eric Steig, ICWG representative. Because the new NZ drill (designed from the Danish Hans Tausen drill) may provide an excellent prototype for this drill, detailed science requirements will be developed with the broader community by IDPO-IDDO after results of NZ drill testing at NEEM this coming summer. IDDO engineer Tanner Kuhl will be at NEEM to witness the testing of the NZ drill. This will give an excellent first-person assessment of aspects of the drill that should be replicated and identification of possible problem areas. Opportunities for funding acquisition of a drill are being explored.

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.