Ice Core Paleoclimatology

The Ice Core Drill

The Ice Core Drill

A light-weight, portable drilling system designed for coring to a depth of up to 700 meters was developed and tested by Victor Zagorodnov at OSU's Byrd Polar Research Center (BPRC) for this project. The drill system included a complete setup with a 700-m cable capacity and a controller unit. Due to the thickness of the Bona-Churchill ice field it was necessary to use multiple drilling technologies. The OSU system is designed to be quickly switched from a dry hole electro-mechanical drill (used to 180 meters) to a thermal-alcohol electric drill that collected core from 180 to 460 meters. The core quality ranged from good to excellent. The system is powered with a light-weight, highly fuel efficient diesel generator that minimized environmental impact on the col. This lightweight system made ice core drilling on this project more cost efficient by reducing airlift requirements. Both drills (electro-mechanical and thermal) produce 100-mm diameter core sections up to 2.1 meters long. A newly developed, quick assembly geodesic dome, designed and built at OSU, housed all drilling and core processing activities.

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