2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
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2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

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

RAID test site at Minna Bluff in 2017-18, with Mount Discovery in the background. 
Photo by John Goodge.
D-552-M Research Location(s): South Pole Operations Traverse staging area (SPoTSA)


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1419935

Program Manager:
Dr. Michael Jackson

ASC POC/Implementer:
Judy Shiple / Dean Einerson / Matthew Kippenhan

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. John Goodge
University of Minnesota
Department of Geological Sciences
Duluth, Minnesota

Project Web Site:


Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: South Pole Operations Traverse staging area (SPoTSA)


The Rapid Access Ice Drill (RAID) aims to rapidly drill to deep ice (up to 3,300-meter depth), followed by coring of ice, ice-sheet bed interface, and the 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 RAID drill was designed and commissioned for testing in 2015 and the drill has undergone two field tests near Minna Bluff.

Field Season Overview

A four-person team will conduct system updates, maintenance, and functional tests of a new drill head and cutting tool. All operations will be conducted from McMurdo Station. The RAID modules were stored over the winter at the Black Island-South Pole route junction and will need to be moved off the berms to the South Pole Traverse staging area (SPoTSA) and put into the drilling configuration. The team requests that the RAID modules be moved to a location on the ice shelf as close to McMurdo Station as possible in order to minimize commuting time. Once modules are in place, the RAID project staff will be self sufficient as they operate out of McMurdo Station.

Deploying Team Members

  • Clayton Armstrong
  • Jay Johnson
  • Anthony Vecchiarelli