Clean subglacial access

prospects for future deep hot-water drilling

Keith Makinson*, David Pearce, Dominic A. Hodgson, Michael J. Bentley, Andrew M. Smith, Martyn Tranter, Mike Rose, Neil Ross, Matt Mowlem, John Parnell, Martin J. Siegert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Accessing and sampling subglacial environments deep beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet presents several challenges to existing drilling technologies. With over half of the ice sheet believed to be resting on a wet bed, drilling down to this environment must conform to international agreements on environmental stewardship and protection, making clean hot-water drilling the most viable option. Such a drill, and its water recovery system, must be capable of accessing significantly greater ice depths than previous hot-water drills, and remain fully operational after connecting with the basal hydrological system. The Subglacial Lake Ellsworth (SLE) project developed a comprehensive plan for deep (greater than 3000 m) subglacial lake research, involving the design and development of a clean deep-ice hot-water drill. However, during fieldwork in December 2012 drilling was halted after a succession of equipment issues culminated in a failure to link with a subsurface cavity and abandonment of the access holes. The lessons learned from this experience are presented here. Combining knowledge gained from these lessons with experience from other hot-water drilling programmes, and recent field testing, we describe the most viable technical options and operational procedures for future clean entry into SLE and other deep subglacial access targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20140304
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the royal society a-Mathematical physical and engineering sciences
Volume374
Issue number2059
Early online date14 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2016

Fingerprint

Drilling
drilling
Ice
Water
ice
lakes
Lakes
water
water reclamation
International cooperation
lessons learned
entry
beds
Cavity
Recovery
sampling
Sampling
Testing
cavities
Target

Keywords

  • Clean access
  • Deep hot-water drilling
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Subglacial environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

Makinson, K., Pearce, D., Hodgson, D. A., Bentley, M. J., Smith, A. M., Tranter, M., ... Siegert, M. J. (2016). Clean subglacial access: prospects for future deep hot-water drilling. Philosophical transactions of the royal society a-Mathematical physical and engineering sciences, 374(2059), [20140304]. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2014.0304

Clean subglacial access : prospects for future deep hot-water drilling. / Makinson, Keith; Pearce, David; Hodgson, Dominic A.; Bentley, Michael J.; Smith, Andrew M.; Tranter, Martyn; Rose, Mike; Ross, Neil; Mowlem, Matt; Parnell, John; Siegert, Martin J.

In: Philosophical transactions of the royal society a-Mathematical physical and engineering sciences, Vol. 374, No. 2059, 20140304, 28.01.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Makinson, K, Pearce, D, Hodgson, DA, Bentley, MJ, Smith, AM, Tranter, M, Rose, M, Ross, N, Mowlem, M, Parnell, J & Siegert, MJ 2016, 'Clean subglacial access: prospects for future deep hot-water drilling', Philosophical transactions of the royal society a-Mathematical physical and engineering sciences, vol. 374, no. 2059, 20140304. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2014.0304
Makinson, Keith ; Pearce, David ; Hodgson, Dominic A. ; Bentley, Michael J. ; Smith, Andrew M. ; Tranter, Martyn ; Rose, Mike ; Ross, Neil ; Mowlem, Matt ; Parnell, John ; Siegert, Martin J. / Clean subglacial access : prospects for future deep hot-water drilling. In: Philosophical transactions of the royal society a-Mathematical physical and engineering sciences. 2016 ; Vol. 374, No. 2059.
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