2016-2017 Science Planning Summaries
United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
2016-2017 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Phase 2 development of a Rapid Access Ice Drilling (RAID) platform for research in Antarctica

Rapid Access Ice Drill with canopy supported on drill mast.
Photo by: Chris Delahunty


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1419935

Program Manager:
Dr. Michael Jackson

ASC POC/Implementer:
Judy Shiple / Matthew Kippenhan / Colleen Hardiman

Principal Investigator

Dr. John Goodge

University of Minnesota
Department of Geological Sciences
Duluth, Minnesota

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Minna Bluff


The Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID) aims to rapidly drill to deep ice (up to 3,300 meters deep), followed by the coring of ice, ice-sheet bed interface, and bedrock substrate below. The RAID drilling platform will give the scientific community access to a rich record of geologic and climatic change on a variety of timescales, from the billion-year rock record to thousand-year ice and climate histories. The main objective during the 2017-18 austral summer field season is to complete a trial of the drilling system begun last season to validate its operational readiness for science drilling.

Field Season Overview

The Antarctic Field Trial (AFT) for the 2016-17 austral summer field season will take place at a site near Minna Bluff. The trial will commence in late 2016 after the RAID equipment is moved from winter storage in McMurdo to the nearby ice shelf, where it will be loaded onto ski platforms. After a short traverse of approximately 125 miles from McMurdo Station, the RAID system and a small field camp will be set up for drilling operations. Total time on site should be approximately four weeks. At the conclusion of the drill trial, the equipment will be returned to the McMurdo area and winterized on snow berms at Black Island South Pole (BISP) for storage. In addition, upon completing field work at the South Pole, one participant from T-150 (Ice Drilling Design and Operations, IDDO) and one participant from I-194-S will each spend one to two weeks at the Minna Bluff site observing drilling operations and testing a new optical borehole logger that is being designed and built for RAID.

Deploying Team Members

  • John Goodge (PI)
  • Jeffrey Severinghaus (Co-PI)
  • Blaise Stephanus