News Picks : New drills designed to bore more quickly into Antarctic ice
28 October 2015
Nature: Several “rapid-access” ice drills that are being developed will be put to the test in Antarctica in the coming months. One of the biggest, a US project called the Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID), will be able to bore to a depth of some 3 km in about a week, an accomplishment that used to take several seasons of drilling. Although RAID is designed to drill straight through without collecting large ice core samples along the way, it will be able to obtain small ice, rock, and sediment cores via an “on the fly” wireline retrieval system that doesn’t require removing the drill string from the borehole. The quick surveys will allow researchers to find the best places to return and extract full ice cores with different equipment. RAID and the other drills being developed will be used to seek Earth’s most ancient ice, possibly as much as 1.2 million years old. Such ice could provide clues to Earth’s early climate and carbon dioxide levels and give insight into how Antarctic ice will react as the current climate warms.