May 13, 2022

A first peek into the ice drilling trenches

Access to trenches excavated.

As we are preparing to move the dome, all cables, hot water pipes and drainpipes have to be disconnected. The two main cables for the ice core drilling run underneath the dome. We are going to pull them 110 m from the main generator, under the dome through a snow duct into the trenches. To perform this pull, we have to access the trenches. When the dome is re-positioned, the cables will be laid back in new and more shallow ducts. It was a really anxious moment to enter the drill and science trenches.
The snow caves have been abandoned for three years, and they are now two years older than design age. How much equipment has been crushed from the roof lowering due to increasing weight of overburden snow? The answer is much less than feared. We are so happy on behalf of the entire project. There will be a lot of snow to be removed from the ceiling etc, but all in all, the damages are repairable.

What we did today:

  1. Grooming skiway.
  2. Excavated fuel tank and pulled it into position.
  3. Removing snow from sides and from roof of mechanics garage.
  4. Built WP 6 and finished WP 9 (“freshie shack”).
  5. Cutting snow and ice from around base of dome.
  6. Pulling items from lower cargoline to surface.
  7. Beginning to make ramp for dome move.
  8. Excavated roof of elevator shaft from under 1.5 m snow 9. Gained access to drill and science trenches.

Ad.8: A quick report on the state of the trenches.
Access tunnel: Low but o.k.
Drill trench: Significant loss of head space. Electrical distribution panels o.k. Winch o.k., tower o.k. tables are leaning; but o.k. Drillers cabin: front inner corner compressed, windows cracked. Chip treatment cabin, inner corners compressed windows cracked. Drillers workshop, intact.
Logging cabin: Intact.
Ice core buffer: Intact.
Science trench: Significant loss of head space, tables are leaning, but all equipment intact.
Core storage: Slight loss of head space. Intact.
Connecting tunnel: Loss of headspace. Equipment intact.
Elevator shaft: No change in dimension, elevator intact.
Staircase shaft: No change in dimension, staircase has small dents.
Ad.2: To finally gain access, the crew had to use chainsaws and hammers as the entrance was covered with refrozen meltwater.

Weather today: Clear blue skies. Temp. -36°C to -23°C. Wind: mostly calm later 3-6 kt from WNW. Visibility: Unrestricted.

FL, J.P. Steffensen

EGRIP science trench 2022.

EGRIP science trench 2022.

Drill trench from winch.

Drill trench from drillers workshop.