Antarctic Drilling Program


Date of this Version



Published in Terra Antartica, 2008-2009, 15(1), 41-48. © Terra Antartica Publication 2008-2009


During the austral spring of 2007-08, a 1138 metre (m)-long rock and sediment core (ANDRILL [AND]-2A) was recovered from beneath the land-fast sea-ice in southern McMurdo Sound (SMS) in 384 m of water. A custom-built drilling system comprising an UDR-1200 rig, jack-up platform, hot water drill, sea riser, and diamond-bit wireline coring string was set up on the sea-ice approximately 32 kilometres (km) from Scott Base (NZ) and McMurdo Station (USA). The drilling system employed technology developed to handle challenging environmental conditions, including drilling from an 8 metre-thick sea-ice ‘platform’ that moved both laterally and vertically, tidal currents, and high winds. Drill site set up commenced in early September 2007, and the first AND-2A core was recovered on 10 October 2007. Drilling operations continued until 5 December 2007. Science operations were conducted at the drill site, in both the borehole and a purpose-built laboratory 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 by helicopter 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 repository) at Florida State University in the United States.