Development of the British Antarctic Survey Rapid Access Isotope Drill
The British Antarctic Survey Rapid Access Isotope Drill is an innovative new class of electromechanical ice drill, which has recently been used to drill the deepest dry hole drilled by an electromechanical auger drill. The record-breaking depth of 461.58 m was drilled in just over 104 hours at Little Dome C. The drill collects ice chippings, for water stable isotope analysis, rather than an ice core. By not collecting a core the winch can be geared for speed rather than core breaking and is lightweight. Furthermore, emptying of the chippings is performed by simply reversing the drill motor on the surface reducing the overall drilling time significantly. The borehole is then available for instrumentation. We describe the drill in its current state including modifications carried out since it was last deployed. Test seasons and the lessons learned from each are outlined. Finally, future developments for this class of drill are discussed.
Authors: Rix, Julius ORCID record for Julius Rix, Mulvaney, Robert ORCID record for Robert Mulvaney, Hong, Jialin, Ashurst, Daniel