University of Wisconsin-Madison Physical Sciences Lab

Example: Shot Hole Drill

[Shot Hole Drill at Antarctica]

Some glacial ice flows move faster than others. ICDS principal investigator Charles Bentley outlined the scope of the research to examine if it is the type of geological mass underneath an ice flow that causes or contributes to its faster movement and provided the specifications for a new drilling device. Researchers will study the reflections recorded by seismic sensors during explosions caused by small explosive charges dropped into a set pattern of holes in the ice. Because of limited good drilling weather in the Antarctic, the several hundred holes required need to be done quickly, perhaps drilling up to 20 holes a day. PSL designed a drill that was fast, easily moved from one site to the next, and could withstand constant use over a very short period of time. The drill bit had to be very reliable, not getting jammed up with ice chips.