MacArtney Ice Core Drilling Winch for BAS

Posted by Irina Tabakina

The MacArtney Group announced the supply of an ice core drilling winch solution to British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The winch will be used to deploy the new BAS Rapid Access Isotope Drill (RAID) which is able to complete a complete 600 m drilling cycle in one week, before being redeployed at the next drilling location. The drill will collect ice chippings, which can be used for isotope analysis and climate profiling, and leave an access hole to allow deployment of a temperature sensing cable. Both types of investigation and analysis will be used to identify good sites to find old ice. So far, shallow BAS drills have reached ice aging between 150,000 and 350,000 years of age, while the oldest ice that has currently been investigated is 800,000 years old. BAS hopes that with the new drill, the organization will find sites with ice as old as 1.5 million years. Operation of the drill system will take place in difficult and demanding East Antarctica sites that are likely to be both cold (-25˚C to -35˚C) and high (>3000 m above sea level). First, due to the remote location of the drill sites, the MacArtney BAS ice core drilling winch needs to be transportable by a standard Twin Otter turboprop aircraft which also needs to carry the RAID drill system, a generator, fuel, tents, supplies and the four person scientist crew. With this in mind, the entire winch system, including a demountable cable sheave pole and the integrated sledge, is made from aluminum and designed to be light and compact.

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