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A low resource subglacial bedrock sampler : the percussive rapid access isotope drill (P-RAID).

Timoney, Ryan and Worrall, Kevin and Firstbrook, David and Harkness, Patrick and Rix, Julius and Ashurst, Daniel and Mulvaney, Robert and Bentley, Michael J. (2020) 'A low resource subglacial bedrock sampler : the percussive rapid access isotope drill (P-RAID).', Cold regions science and technology., 177 . p. 103113.


The paleoclimate community has an interest in distributed subglacial bedrock sampling but, while capable drill systems do exist, they are often incompatible with Twin Otter logistics. To address this issue, a design built on the existing low footprint ice-sampler, the Rapid Access Isotope Drill (RAID) is investigated. The new device will retain key features of the parent system, but the ice drilling elements of the RAID will be replaced by a self-contained rotary-percussive core-drill capable of penetrating ice-consolidated and rocky terrain at and below the ice/rock interface. This new front-end will only be deployed once the interface itself has been attained, providing a pristine core sample from the underlying terrain. The proposed Percussive Rapid Access Isotope Drill (P-RAID) has been inspired by planetary drilling technologies to allow autonomous operations at the bottom of the hole. This paper details the development and testing of the proof-of-concept hardware. The mechanical and electrical design challenges encountered, and the results obtained from a series of prolonged cold chamber tests will be discussed, alongside lessons learned from initial testing in Antarctica.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date accepted:01 June 2020
Date deposited:24 June 2020
Date of first online publication:03 June 2020
Date first made open access:24 June 2020

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