Hand Auger

Field Support to 2019 Arctic Projects

The second quarter saw the start of the 2019 Arctic field season. IDP is providing support to the following projects:

(1) The Quantifying Heat/Mass Structure and Fluxes through the Full Thickness of Greenland's Percolation Zone project (PI Harper; NSF award #1717241) will collect several shallow firn cores in western Greenland using a hand auger and Sidewinder kit. The cores will be used to quantify firn density, and the resultant boreholes will provide access for temperature logging of the firn column. The goal of the multiyear project is to use a combination of shallow and deep cores/boreholes to quantify the structure, thermal state, and heat fluxes through the full thickness of the firn column across a transect spanning western Greenland's percolation zone. The researchers are using their own hot water drill to drill the deep boreholes.

(2) The Refreezing in the Firn of the Greenland Ice Sheet 2019 project (PI Rennermalm; NSF award #1604058) will use a hand auger and Sidewinder kit to collect several shallow firn cores from the southwestern sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet to investigate the stratigraphy, density, temperature, and liquid water content of the firn cover. The project's goal is to better understand how the surface meltwater generated in the summer makes its way from its location on the ice sheet to the ocean. Two competing but not mutually exclusive theories are 1) the meltwater percolates into the ice sheet pores and is stored for a relatively long time. 2) The initial infiltrating meltwater refreezes at shallow depth in the firn, forming a hard pan that prohibits further infiltration. The project will test these two hypotheses through a combination of fieldwork, remote sensing from satellites, and modeling.

(3) The Partnerships for Polar Science Education and Outreach in Greenland (JSEP) project (PI Virginia; NSF award #1748137) is a multicultural polar science outreach program for high school students from Greenland, Denmark, and the USA. The program brings US students together with Danish and Greenlandic students in Greenland, where the group will spend several weeks studying the causes and consequences of Arctic environmental change. As part of the program, a hand auger will be used to expose the students to firn science (observing stratigraphic, density, and temperature changes with depth) at EastGRIP.

(4) The EAGER: Exploration of the Denali Basal Ice Core Archive project (PI Kreutz; NSF award #1806422) will return to their 2013 ice core drill site and use the Stampfli Drill to collect a 30- to 50-meter long core. The researcher's objective is to understand the recent and past changes in summer temperature, snow accumulation, atmospheric circulation, and pollution in the context of the last 2000 years of natural variability in the North Pacific. In 2013 the researchers collected twin 208-meter long ice cores to bedrock from the summit plateau of Mt. Hunter in Denali National Park. This season's 30- to 50-meter long core will be used to update the climate record from 2013 to 2019 and help aid in the interpretation of the deeper ice.

(5) The Thermal Drill Testing with the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) project is an internal IDP project. The Electrothermal drill, aka the "Thermal drill", is a mechanical ice coring drill based on the agile 4-Inch drill but with the addition of an electrically heated ring that enables coring in temperate ice that is close to the pressure melting point. Following planned system upgrades in PY 2018, including a new 300-meter long cable, new heat rings and an ethanol delivery mechanism, IDP is conducting a three-week test of the Electrothermal Drill system in Alaska in conjunction with other JIRP activities and established logistics. Following the test, IDP will inspect and repair the Electrothermal Drill equipment and make any necessary modifications.

Map of Greenland showing 2019 Arctic field season locations. The numbers shown on the maps correspond to the project numbers in the text.

Map of Alaska showing 2019 Arctic field season locations. The numbers shown on the maps correspond to the project numbers in the text.

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.

GreenTrACS Successfully Uses IDDO Hand Auger and Sidewinder to Collect Shallow Ice Cores

In May and June, PI Erich Osterberg's Greenland Traverse for Accumulation and Climate Studies (GreenTrACS) field team had excellent success with an IDDO hand auger and Sidewinder on a snowmobile traverse between Raven Camp and Summit Station in Greenland, collecting seven ice cores measuring 20-30 meters in length each. The ice cores will be used to help determine the patterns of snow accumulation in Western Greenland over the past 20-40 years, and to evaluate surface melt refreeze and englacial meltwater storage in the Western Greenland percolation zone over the past 20-40 years. For more information about the project, visit http://greentracs.blogspot.com/.

PI Erich Osterberg drills with the IDDO Hand Auger and Sidwinder system in Greenland. Credit: GreenTrACS Team/Dartmouth College

Successful Support Across Antarctica

Several other projects supported by IDPO-IDDO were also successfully brought to a close during the quarter. Drilling efforts for the cosmogenic C-14 project on Taylor Glacier were completed for the third and final year. Out at Allan Hills, an IDDO driller utilized an Eclipse Drill to successfully core three holes to bedrock, collecting precious ancient ice. A second Eclipse Drill project was completed at South Pole Station. Finally, after years of programmatic delays, IDDO was able to conclude its operations related to use of the DISC Drill at WAIS Divide. All equipment is now disassembled, packed, labeled and ready for return to the U.S. as flights allow. IDDO also successfully extended the borehole casing to allow for future logging operations, including planned logging during the 2016-2017 field season.

South Pole Ice Core (PI Aydin)
An IDDO team of seven engineers and drillers, led by Lead Driller Jay Johnson, successfully completed this two-year drilling endeavor at South Pole Station, achieving a final borehole depth of 1751 meters, 251 meters beyond the original goal of the project. All necessary retro cargo was readied for vessel and COMAIR transport back to the U.S., whereas the drill tent and other items were winterized for use again in 2016-2017.

WAIS Divide Deep (PI Albert)
IDDO Driller Jim Koehler arrived at WAIS Divide on 1/14/16, following weather and aircraft delays, and worked expediently to prepare the remaining DISC Drill items for return shipment to the U.S. Koehler also worked with ASC personnel to extend the borehole casing to two feet above the Arch floor level.

The borehole casing extension at WAIS Divide, Antarctica. Credit: Jim Koehler

Taylor Glacier Blue Ice Cores (PI Petrenko)
IDDO Driller Mike Jayred operated the Blue Ice Drill (BID) in support of PI Vas Petrenko's C-14 of atmospheric methane fieldwork at Taylor Glacier. All science samples were successfully collected, with over 480 meters of core drilled over 35 drilling days. In total, over 40 holes were completed through approximately 530 drill runs. IDDO support of this three-year project is now concluded.

Driller Mike Jayred attaches Blue Ice Drill cargo to a waiting helicopter at Taylor Glacier, Antarctica. Credit: Heidi Roop

Climate Controls on Aerosol Fluxes in Taylor Valley (PI Aciego)
IDDO Driller Mike Jayred operated the Blue Ice Drill (BID) in support of PI Sarah Aciego's aerosol fluxes fieldwork at Taylor Glacier. All science samples were successfully collected in early November 2015, with 20 meters of core collected during this short duration project.

Allan Hills (PI Higgins)
IDDO Driller Mike Waszkiewicz operated an IDDO Eclipse Drill at Allan Hills in support of PI John Higgins' ancient ice fieldwork. All science samples were successfully collected. Each of the two planned holes were drilled to bedrock, with the first hole drilled to a depth of 100 meters and the second hole to a depth of 205 meters. The team was also able to re-enter a third hole that was originally drilled in 2011, coring an additional 20 meters of what is believed to be million year old ice.

Drilling tent and Eclipse Drill in operation at a snowy Allan Hills, Antarctica. Credit: Mike Waszkiewicz

South Pole Firn Air (PI Sowers)
Trevor Popp, an American driller and scientist working at the Centre for Ice and Climate in Copenhagen, Denmark, operated an IDDO Eclipse Drill at South Pole in support of PI Todd Sowers' firn air sampling campaign. In early November 2015, Popp set up the drill and began drilling without incident. Firn air sampling was progressing well until the firn air bladder provided by and operated by the science team became stuck in the borehole at 100 meters depth. Following unsuccessful efforts by the science team, IDDO, and ASC to retrieve the firn air sampling equipment, the hole was abandoned and efforts were redirected to drilling of the second hole, which was successfully drilled to 128 meters. Core quality was excellent throughout and the penetration rate was exceptional.

Hand Augers
During the 2015-2016 Antarctic field season, IDDO supported ten investigators through the deployment of a variety of hand auger and Sidewinder kits. The hand auger kits are currently en-route back to the U.S. via the cargo vessel.

Crary Ice Rise Shot Holes (PI Conway)
IDDO supplied PIs Twit Conway and Paul Winberry with a Small Hot Water Drill to create shot holes for their Crary Ice Rise seismic work. All shot holes were successfully drilled by the science team, and the equipment is currently onboard the cargo vessel headed to the U.S.

Exposed Rock Beneath the WAIS (PI Stone)
In anticipation of the upcoming 2016-2017 fieldwork, IDDO shipped borehole casing and drill rod for the ASIG Drill to Antarctica via the resupply vessel. These items are planned for use during the 2016-2017 field season to support PI John Stone's fieldwork near Pirrit Hills. The borehole casing and drill rods were shipped early to reduce ASC's shipping costs and to allow the cargo to be flown to West Antarctica in 2016-2017 on flights of opportunity.

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.

Successful Project Support Amidst an Uncertain Antarctic Field Season

Despite uncertainties surrounding and delays stemming from the government shutdown in Fall 2013, Antarctic fieldwork was successfully completed for IDDO-supported projects.

Taylor Glacier (PIs Aciego and Petrenko)
On Taylor Glacier in the Dry Valleys Region, IDDO driller Mike Jayred and IDDO engineer Josh Goetz successfully collected over 1300 meters of large-diameter ice cores using the Blue Ice Drill. Despite an intensely windy field season, project objectives were achieved for both PI Vas Petrenko and PI Sarah Aciego.

Driller Mike Jayred operating the Blue Ice Drill on Taylor Glacier.

Siple Dome (PIs Bay and Talghader)
Due to the government shutdown, the U.S. Antarctic Program decided against opening WAIS Divide Camp this season. This has delayed borehole logging operations at WAIS Divide by one field season, but is not expected to negatively impact the disassembly and removal of the DISC Drill from the site, which is now scheduled to occur in 2014-2015. Due to the impact of the shutdown on the logging operations planned for WAIS Divide, PIs Joey Talghader and Ryan Bay altered their project plans to complete less logistically-intense logging projects at Siple Dome this season, both of which were originally planned for the 2014-2015 field season. Assisting in their operations were Josh Goetz and driller Elizabeth Morton. Despite severe flight delays and poor weather at Siple Dome, a very successful maiden voyage of IDDO's new Intermediate Depth Logging Winch helped to complete all project objectives.

The new intermediate logging winch for logging boreholes up to 1500 meters deep.

The intermediate depth logging winch in operation at Siple Dome.

Beardmore Glacier (PIs Conway and Winberry)
PIs Howard Conway and Paul Winberry utilized a Small Hot Water Drill once again to successfully drill over 100, 25-meter deep holes for seismic research on Beardmore Glacier, completing the second season of their two-year project.

Shallow Hand Auger Drilling (various PIs)
A number of shallow drilling projects were completed by PIs through the use of hand auger kits provided by IDDO, including two PICO hand auger kits, three SIPRE hand augers, two Sidewinder power drive kits and five new IDDO hand auger kits. The newly designed IDDO hand auger kit has shown excellent results thus far and IDDO continues to collect user feedback on the kit's performance.

The new IDDO hand auger kits packed and ready for shipment to Antarctica.

IDDO hand auger kit contents.

Scientific Drilling (2013 Summer)

Denali (PI Osterberg)
IDDO provided driller Mike Waszkiewicz and a Badger-Eclipse Drill for PI Erich Osterberg's coring project in Denali National Park. Two holes were completed down to a depth of 208 meters each, resulting in excellent core quality. A new solar and wind system capable of powering the Badger-Eclipse Drill proved successful on its maiden field project. Such clean drilling efforts were praised by National Park Service staff and will continue to be utilized in the future.

New solar and wind power system used for Badger-Eclipse drilling in Denali National Park. Photo: Mike Waszkiewicz

Greenland Aerosol and Greenhouse Gases Core (PI McConnell)
Despite being forestalled by weather in previous attempts to drill ice cores on Tunu Glacier in Greenland several years ago, IDDO driller Bella Bergeron and the science field team were able to recover successfully over 350 meters of ice core during the month of May. Using an IDDO 4-Inch Drill, one hole was completed down to 213 meters while a second hole was completed down to 141 meters.

Greenland Cosmogenic C-14 Cores (PI Petrenko)
A team of three IDDO drillers, Lou Albershardt, Mike Jayred, and Tanner Kuhl, accompanied by a field science team was able to successfully utilize a Badger-Eclipse Drill to drill two holes for firn air pumping studies outside of Summit Station, Greenland. One hole was completed to 90 meters and another completed to 102 meters. In addition, the IDDO-designed Blue Ice Drill was put to the test to determine its ability to collect firn cores. The Blue Ice Drill is expected to undergo several modifications over the next year to enable additional firn coring in Greenland as well as to extend its depth capabilities in both firn and ice.

Badger-Eclipse drilling outside of Summit Station, Greenland. Photo: Tanner Kuhl

Greenland Perennial Firn Aquifer (PI Forster)
As a follow up to a previous project conducted by PI Rick Forster in SE Greenland, IDDO provided driller Jay Kyne and the IDDO Thermal Drill to drill through the firn aquifer layer. Two holes were completed down to 60 meter and 25 meters, respectively, each allowing the deployment of a thermistor string through the aquifer.

McCall Glacier Cores (PI Nolan)
PI Matt Nolan completed his third season of a three-year ice coring project on McCall Glacier in Alaska. Throughout the project, Nolan utilized both a 3-Inch and 4-Inch PICO Hand Auger to retrieve shallow core samples.

Summit Shallow Core Array (PI Noone)
PI David Noone's field team deployed late in the third quarter to continue their collection of shallow ice cores near Summit Station. To support this work, IDDO again provided a PICO hand auger and a new IDDO hand auger as well as a Sidewinder power drive system. This year marks the third year of IDDO's support of the four-year project.

New Hand Auger Prototype Tested

IDDO Engineer Josh Goetz was able to test his newly designed prototype for the next generation of hand auger equipment. While at WAIS Divide for DISC Drill and Replicate Testing operations this season, Josh was able to use the hand auger to drill four holes in firn of varying density and was able to take notes regarding further modification and fine tuning of the prototype. In addition, IDDO contract driller Tanner Kuhl was also able to briefly test a second copy of the prototype on Taylor Glacier in the Dry Valleys region. Josh, using his and Tanner's experience this past season, is modifying the prototypes to improve performance.

Josh Goetz field tests a new hand auger design at WAIS Divide. Photo courtesy of Steffen Bo Hansen.

Multidisciplinary Science on the Greenland Ice Sheet is Enabled by Agile Ice Core Drills

Despite battling bitter winds and cold April temperatures in Greenland, P.I. Rick Forster's Arctic Circle Traverse (ACT) field team successfully drilled and processed over 200 meters of ice core at four traverse sites in Greenland under the leadership of IDDO Lead Driller, Terry Gacke. The cores may yield insights on snow accumulation. Meanwhile, in the center of the ice sheet, the field team for P.I.s David Noone and David Schneider drilled a shallow core array near Summit Station, Greenland using an IDDO PICO 4-inch hand auger system and /equipment/sidewinder-power-driveSidewinder kit. At Raven Camp on the ice sheet, activity focused on a detection system for ice sheet movement; a 300-meter borehole was drilled and a seismometer successfully deployed in May for P.I. Kent Anderson's Greenland Ice Sheet Monitoring Network (GLISN) project. Under the leadership of IDDO Lead Driller Bella Bergeron, IDDO driller Terry Gacke, IDDO engineer Tanner Kuhl and the GLISN science team utilized the 4-Inch Drill system winch to control descent of the seismometer. In addition, three solar arrays were constructed, surface seismometers buried, wind turbines and GPS antennas erected, and interconnecting cables buried.

GLISN field team. Photo: Tanner Kuhl

Lead Driller Beth Bergeron operates the winch. Photo: Tanner Kuhl

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.