With the COVID-19 pandemic having postponed all IDP-supported 2020/21 Antarctic fieldwork, IDP-WI took the opportunity to test several drills and new components in a prototype ice well at the UW Physical Sciences Lab in Stoughton, WI. A new Winkie Drill ice bit performed well under both very cold and warm ambient temperatures, and a new fluid chiller was also successfully tested. A new barrel set for the Foro 400 Drill was successfully tested, following issues witnessed during the system’s first use during the 2018/19 field season at Law Dome, Antarctica. Both an IDP and a Kovacs Sidewinder were tested, as IDP seeks to improve the Sidewinder design. The testing also provided an extremely beneficial and rare opportunity to train additional operators on the use of the equipment while drilling actual ice, as logistics limitations for field projects usually only allow for one driller.
Beneficial Drill System Testing and Operator Training Conducted near Madison, WI
IDP Supports a Successful 2019/20 Antarctic Field Season
The 2019/20 Antarctic field season was a bustling time for IDP. The entire engineering staff of IDP deployed across five different sites. Using the Winkie Drill and Badger-Eclipse Drill, Engineer Grant Boeckmann and Research Intern Elliot Moravec successfully collected four subglacial rock cores on Thwaites Glacier in the Hudson Mountains for PI Brent Goehring’s project. Engineer Tanner Kuhl and Driller Elizabeth Morton supported PI John Higgins’s work at Allan Hills through operation of the Blue Ice Drill and the new Foro 400 Drill. IDP Warehouse Manager Jim Koehler operated the Intermediate Depth Logging Winch (IDLW) at South Pole Station in support of PI Kael Hanson’s logging of the SPICEcore borehole and then transitioned to WAIS Divide to assist Engineer Chris Gibson with testing of the new RAM 2 Drill components with the original RAM Drill compressors. They were also able to perform brief testing on the Small Hot Water Drill, which will serve as the backup drill for PI Sridhar Anandakrishnan’s GHOST project on Thwaites Glacier in 2020/21. Engineer Jay Johnson deployed to Minna Bluff with the RAID project at the request of PI John Goodge and the NSF. In addition to consulting on operation of the RAID equipment, Johnson also used an IDP 4-Inch Drill and chips bailer to assist in setting the RAID packer. He also re-terminated the IDLW cable following damage at South Pole and was assisted in this effort by Kuhl and Morton. The IDLW was then operated in two RAID boreholes by RAID and IceCube personnel. Despite substantial weather and aircraft delays program-wide, objectives were largely completed for all projects, and feedback received from PIs has been very positive.
Field Support to Antarctic 2019-2020 Projects
IDP is providing support to the following projects during the 2019-2020 Antarctic field season:
(1) The Geological History Constraints on the Magnitude of Grounding Line Retreat in the Thwaites Glacier System project (PIs Goehring, Balco, Hall, Campbell; C-443-M; NSF award 1738989) contributes to the joint initiative launched by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to substantially improve decadal and longer-term projections of ice loss and sea-level rise originating from Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. The goal of the project is to obtain geological evidence from the Thwaites-Pine Island Glacier system that will show whether glaciers were less extensive than they are at present, and, if so, when. The project will utilize the Badger-Eclipse Drill and Winkie Drill to obtain subglacial bedrock from sites where ice thickness is dynamically linked to grounding-line position in the Thwaites system (specifically in the Hudson Mountains). Observation of significant cosmogenic-nuclide concentrations in these samples would provide direct, unambiguous evidence for past episodes of thinning linked to grounding-line retreat as well as constraints on their timing and duration.
(2) The Thwaites-Amundsen Regional Survey and Network (TARSAN) integrating atmosphere-ice-ocean processes affecting the sub-ice- shelf environment project (PI Pettit; C-445-M/N; NSF award 1738992) contributes to the joint initiative launched by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to substantially improve decadal and longer-term projections of ice loss and sea-level rise originating from Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. Thwaites and neighboring glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment are rapidly losing mass in response to recent climate warming and related changes in ocean circulation. The processes driving the loss appear to be warmer ocean circulation and changes in the width and flow speed of the glacier, but a better understanding of these changes is needed to refine predictions of how the glacier will evolve. One highly sensitive process is the transitional flow of glacier ice from land onto the ocean to become a floating ice shelf. This flow of ice from grounded to floating is affected by changes in air temperature and snowfall at the surface; the speed and thickness of ice feeding it from upstream; and the ocean temperature, salinity, bathymetry, and currents that the ice flows into. The project team will gather new measurements of each of these local environmental conditions so that it can better predict how future changes in air, ocean, or the ice will affect the loss of ice to the ocean in this region. The project will use a 400-meter winch with tower and sheave from the 4-Inch Drill as an instrument installation winch to lower instruments into hot water-drilled boreholes on the Dotson Ice Shelf to measure ocean water properties at locations where warm Circumpolar Deep Water reaches the Thwaites grounding line.
(3) The Collaborative Research: Snapshots of Early and mid-Pleistocene Climate and Atmospheric Composition from the Allan Hills Blue Ice Area project (PIs Higgins, Brook, Severinghaus, Mayewski; I-165-M; NSF award 1744993, 1745006, 1744832 and 1745007) will collect new ice cores from the Allan Hills Blue Ice Area. Bubbles of ancient air trapped in ice cores have been used to directly reconstruct atmospheric composition, and its links to Antarctic and global climate, over the last 800,000 years. Previous field expeditions to the Allan Hills Blue Ice Area, Antarctica, have recovered ice cores that extend as far back as 2.7 million years. These ice cores extend direct observations of atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane concentrations and indirect records of Antarctic climate into a period of Earth’s climate history that represents a plausible geologic analogue to future anthropogenic climate change. Through this project, the team will return to the Allan Hills Blue Ice Area to recover additional ice cores that date to 2 million years or older. The new Foro 400 Drill and Blue Ice Drill will be used to recover the ice cores. The climate records developed from these ice cores will provide new insights into the chemical composition of the atmosphere and Antarctic climate during times of comparable or even greater warmth than the present day.
(4) The Phase 2 Development of a Rapid Access Ice Drilling (RAID) Platform for Research in Antarctica project (PI Goodge; D-551-M, D-552-M; NSF award 1419935) will initiate its third Antarctic Field Trial (AFT3) of the RAID drill system – to collect ice and rock samples from a deep ice sheet near Minna Bluff. The RAID drilling system will be put through a complete set of drilling trials, including augering firn, setting a borehole packer, drilling about 600 meters of grounded ice, and obtain samples of ice and rock cores at depth (by wireline rotary coring). All components of the drilling system will be tested and evaluated. The 4-Inch Drill will be used to make 2-3 meters of smooth-walled borehole just below the firn-ice transition, at a depth of approximately 70 meters, to field test the setting of the borehole packer. The Intermediate Depth Logging Winch will be used to field test a borehole dust logger in selected boreholes produced this season at Minna Bluff.
(5) The Management and Operations of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory 2016-2021 project (PIs Halzen and Hanson; A-333-S; NSF award 1600823) will utilize the Intermediate Depth Logging Winch to lower a series of optical+UV and radio sensor packages into the South Pole Ice Core (SPICEcore) borehole to the full depth of the hole (1751 m). The science goals include measurements of the radio absorption length of the ice from 100-1000MHz, radio birefringence in the ice, and ice index of refraction, all measured as a function of depth and ice temperature. The science team is interested in the optical scattering, absorption lengths, and luminescence as a function of depth and optical wavelength from the visible into the ultraviolet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
Equipment Development (2016 Fall)
Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
During the fourth quarter, IDDO completed all of the system modifications, repairs and upgrades identified during testing performed in the second quarter. The system was shipped to Port Hueneme, CA, in mid-September for use this coming Antarctic field season on PI John Stone's project (see Field Support to Antarctic Projects above).
During the quarter, IDDO completed the fabrication, assembly, and modifications of the Winkie Drill. On 9/16/16, the Winkie Drill system was shipped to Port Hueneme, CA, for its first Antarctic deployment on PI Mukhopadhyay's project (see Field Support to Antarctic Projects above).
Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill
During the quarter, IDDO continued review of the existing sled design and its suitability for use with a reverse circulation dual walled pipe drill. With interest by both the seismic and physics communities on modification and use of the RAM Drill, IDDO plans to work with IDPO in PY 2017 (Nov 1, 2016 - October 31, 2017) to develop updated science requirements for the drill, upon which all subsequent modifications and upgrades will be based. During the quarter, IDDO also completed necessary paperwork for participation in a capstone project at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). The project was accepted for the current school year where CSM students will study air flow and down hole tooling analysis for the RAM Drill.
MAgIC Drill/Intermediate Depth Drill-Light
Throughout PY 2016, IDDO worked with IDPO and community scientists to develop and refine science requirements for a drill similar to the 1500 m Intermediate Depth Drill, but with a depth target between 400-700 meters and with a much-reduced logistics burden to allow for coring on remote glaciers, for instance, in Alaska. IDDO is working with IDPO and interested community scientists to develop an approach to the desired equipment, and is in the process of compiling system options to present to the community. A decision on the naming of the new system, and whether or not it will be built, will be determined once the science requirements are finalized.
IDDO continued to procure drill components for the Foro Drill during the quarter as planned, including a slip ring and a winch frame assembly. Design of the cable was finalized and the cable subsequently ordered in early August. The control box layout was reviewed, the mechanical design of the box was finalized, and custom aluminum cases and faceplates were procured.
Equipment Development (2016 Summer)
Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
During the third quarter, IDDO worked to complete system modifications, repairs and upgrades identified during testing performed in the second quarter. The Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill is expected to ship to Antarctica in September. Validation and verification are now underway and documentation will be completed in the fourth quarter.
During the third quarter, IDDO completed an internal system design review as well as all necessary fabrication, assembly, and modifications of the Winkie Drill. Multi-round system testing was completed, including ice drilling with a newly-designed air chip transport system and modified Forstner and Irwin bits, coring through an ice/rock interface with multiple layers of ice and different sizes of granite rocks using two different types of mixed-media coring bits and a range of Isopar K temperatures, and coring solid granite with three different types of coring bits and two types of drilling fluid (Isopar K and water). System testing was very successful and helped inform selection of drilling/coring bits for a variety of ice/rock conditions the drill may encounter in the field. In conjunction with system testing, IDDO completed two days of operational training, conducted by Earl Maynard, a Winkie Drill expert, in Madison in July 2016. IDDO continued minor system modifications and started final procurement of replacement and spare parts.
Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill
During the quarter, IDDO continued researching multiple approaches for RAM Drill modification and decided to primarily focus on a dual walled pipe drill design that looks more promising than a dual walled hose design or a design based on a new standard hose reel assembly. IDDO started reviewing the existing sled design and its suitability for use with a reverse circulation dual walled pipe drill.
MAgIC Drill/Intermediate Depth Drill-Light
During the quarter, IDDO continued working with IDPO and community scientists to refine science requirements for a drill based on the 1,500 m Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD), but with a depth target between 400-700 m and with a much-reduced logistics burden to allow for coring on remote glaciers. IDDO sent the next round of comments/edits of the IDPO Science Requirements to IDPO on 6/20/16. A decision on the naming of the new system, and whether or not it will be built, is ongoing.
IDDO procured several major Foro Drill components during the quarter as planned, including a Lebus core for the winch drum, a winch motor, a winch motor gearbox, a motor VFD and a pre-fabricated cable assembly for the winch control loop. IDDO finalized the design and ordered a new four-conductor cable in early August. All components for testing of the winch control loop were received. IDDO completed a dimensional report on the winch Lebus core. This core was sent to Innovative Machine Specialists for final assembly, including heat treatment, anodizing and machining. The control box layout was reviewed, and IDDO began finalizing the mechanical design of the box.
Equipment Development (2016 Spring)
Agile Sub-Ice Geological Drill
During the Second Quarter, IDDO initiated full-scale system testing of the Agile Sub-Ice Geological (ASIG) Drill outside of Madison, Wisconsin on the UW Physical Sciences Lab (PSL) campus. IDDO engineers, a contract driller and a trainer from the rig vendor, Multi-Power Products, LLC, were able to test a variety of operations, per the Test Plan drafted by IDDO Project Manager Chris Gibson, including the coring of ice, concrete, solid granite and mixed media. The team was also able to tune the rig, refine fuel and drilling fluid consumption rates, determine the expected operational parameters of the system, such as penetration rates, and identify and refine the spare parts list. The rig performed reliably and is expected to meet or surpass all related science requirements. IDDO hosted several visitors to the test site on February 26, 2016, including Bill Eustes, Blaise Stephanus and Mark Twickler from IDPO, as well as PI John Stone, as the drill system will be used first for his upcoming project in 2016-2017 near Pirrit Hills in Antarctica. Leah Street from ASC, in Madison on other business, was also able to visit the site, as well as several other IDDO personnel. Late in the quarter, IDDO engineers quickly transitioned to system modifications, repairs and upgrades, in anticipation of shipping the system to Antarctica in September.
During the Second Quarter, IDDO continued its modifications and upgrades to the off-the-shelf Winkie Drill purchased from Minex. Early in the quarter, IDDO was able to test its adaptations of auger flights during the Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID) Auger and Packer Test near McMurdo Station. Important information was gained regarding penetration rates, expected fuel consumption, and the augers' ability to transport ice chips to the surface. Taking advantage of the ASIG Drill test set up, the transportation of ice chips by air was tested as a proof of concept for drilling options in the deep field. Later in the quarter, IDDO identified two types of mixed media coring bits, completed fabrication of a rig base for the system to support the drill and evenly distribute loads across the snow surface during core breaks, completed installation and testing of a variable frequency motor drive for the mud pump, and completed modifications of a drill fluid filtration drum. IDDO will continue its work into the Third Quarter, and also plans to complete additional testing and training in Madison in July 2016, prior to shipping the system to Antarctica in September.
Rapid Air Movement Drill
During the quarter, IDDO began researching a new hose reel design for the Rapid Air Movement (RAM) Drill. IDDO also explored dual-wall hose designs and rigid, lightweight aluminum pipe applications as it looks to lighten and lessen the drill's logistics for future deployments. IDDO engineers also corresponded with engineers in the Chinese drilling program, as they are investigating similar technologies.
MAgIC Drill/Intermediate Depth Drill-Light
During the quarter, IDDO worked with IDPO and community scientists to develop and refine science requirements for a drill similar to the 1,500 meter Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD), but with a depth target between 500-900 meters and with a much-reduced logistics burden to allow for coring on remote glaciers, for instance, in Alaska. A decision on the naming of the new system, and whether or not it will be built, should be resolved in the Third or Fourth Quarters.
IDDO ramped up its design of the Foro Drill during the quarter, corresponding with winch drum and other winch component manufacturers. IDDO initiated procurement of components for prototyping the winch control system and building the new Foro control box.
Deep Ice Sheet Coring Drill
IDDO has temporarily put any further development work for the Deep Ice Sheet Coring (DISC) Drill on hold, until the science community identifies if/when the system will next be deployed. Some minor maintenance and cleaning up of the LabVIEW software was completed during the quarter. A good portion of the DISC Drill cargo also returned from Antarctica in April, and is being unpacked and dried.
Beneficial Design Upgrades Continue for 4-Inch 'Foro' Drill
During the Second Quarter, IDDO completed the preliminary design of the new 'Foro' Drill System to upgrade the popular, yet aging, 4-Inch Drill equipment. IDDO engineers have utilized feedback from 4-Inch Drill operators to make this new system lighter, more robust, more easily controlled, and more user-friendly. The sonde design is based on that of IDDO's Intermediate Depth Drill (IDD) and the current 4-Inch Drill designs, with certain components being interchangeable with the IDD, including the anti-torque section, motor section, and the cutter head. The designs for the 'Foro' Drill sled, winch, cable, and control system are brand new designs, and the tower is a modified and improved version of the current 4-Inch Drill tower design. The new sled, winch and tower assembly alone offer a 40% weight savings over the current 4-Inch Drill components. In addition, upgrading the control system to include only one comprehensive control/readout box, as opposed to the two separate boxes used by the 4-Inch Drill, will offer an additional 30% weight savings in this area. In March 2015, IDDO circulated a 'Name That Drill' Doodle poll to encourage IDPO and IDDO team members to vote on a name for the new components, so that distinguishing between the old and new equipment would be more straightforward. The name 'Foro' was selected, and is Latin for "to make a hole, pierce or to bore". On the last day of the Second Quarter, April 30th, IDDO held a Preliminary Design Review where the engineers presented the new system design and future plans for the 'Foro' Drill.
The major design upgrades for the 'Foro' Drill include:
- Redesign tower and winch to be lighter/smaller
- 5.7 mm diameter steel electromechanical winch cable, same as used on the IDD Drill (current 4-Inch Drill cable is 13mm in diameter)
- New cable weight is 13.1kg/100 m (current 4-Inch Drill cable weight is 17.1kg/100 m)
- Upgrades for wet conditions
- New sealed motor section – submersible in drilling fluid or water (current 4-Inch Drill is not submersible)
- Upgraded control system
- Drill and winch motors will be able to be run simultaneously
- Off-the-shelf motor controllers
- Reduced weight, compared to the existing 4-InchDrill control boxes
Browse by Topic
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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.
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.