Antarctic Drilling Program


Date of this Version



Published in Terra Antartica, 2007, 14(3), 131-140. © Terra Antartica Publication 2007


During the austral summer of 2006, a record-setting 1 284.87 metre (m)-long rock and sediment core (ANDRILL [AND]-1B) was recovered from beneath the McMurdo Ice Shelf (MIS) in 917m of water. A custom built drilling system comprising a UDR-1200 rig, jack-up platform, hot water drill, sea riser, and diamond-bit wireline coring string was set up on the McMurdo Ice Shelf approximately 9 kilometres (km) from Scott Base (NZ). The drilling sytem employed technology developed to handle challenging environmental conditions including an 85 m-thick ice shelf ‘platform’ that moved both laterally and vertically, strong tidal currents, and high winds. Drill site set up commenced on 18 August 2006, and the first core for AND-1B was recovered on 31 October 2006. Drilling operations continued through 26 December 2006. Science operations were conducted at the drill site, in both the borehole and a purpose built laboratory (lab) complex, and at the Crary Science and Engineering Center (CSEC), McMurdo Station (USA). Drill site science operations involved downhole logging, which was carried out in the borehole casing and in parts of the open hole, fracture studies, and physical properties measurements. Core was transported from the drill site to McMurdo Station, where it was split, scanned, described, and sampled for initial characterisation. Once initial studies were completed, the core was packed into crates for shipment to the Antarctic Research Facility (ARF; core respository) at Florida State University in the United States.