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Intermediate-depth ice coring of high-altitude and polar glaciers with a lightweight drilling system

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A total of 11 ice cores to a maximum depth of 460 m have been obtained over the past 3 years from high-altitude glaciers on the saddle of Mount Bona and Mount Churchill in Alaska (designated B–C), and on Quelccaya ice cap and Nevado Coropuna in Peru. Ice coring was conducted using an intermediate-depth drilling system. The system includes an electromechanical drill (EMD) and an ethanol thermal electric drill (ETED). The EMD permitted an average ice-core production rate (ICPR) of 7.0 m h−1 down to 150 m. An average ICPR of 2 m h−1 to 460 m depth was possible with the ETED. The quality of the B–C ice cores is better than that of cores previously drilled with an EMD and ETED system. A new cutter design, drilling with a lubricant/cutting fluid and a new anti-torque assembly were tested in the laboratory and in glacier boreholes. We examine the performance of the drills in cold and temperate ice and in clean and particle-laden ice. The influence of the ethanol drilling fluid on ice-core isotopic, ionic and dust composition is discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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