Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wednesday, 14th June: The first "wet" cores drilled.

Another lovely sunny day. The camp is now in overall good shape, but still small tasks remain such as sorting rubbish into piles of metal, glass and combustibles while the drillers conduct tests with the new and environmetally friendly drilling fluid which we plan to use in future deep ice coring operations. The bulk of the fluid consists of a coconut oil derivative so both drillers and the drill have to get used to working with this rather lubricating substance.

We conducted pull and drop tests in the bore hole. Different zones in the hole with different diameters (126.6 mm and 134.0 mm) had been prepared, and the tests were done with both open and closed valves in the drill. The fluid is more viscouos than we are used to, but on the other hand the fluid does not smell and there are no environmental issues. During the tests, the inner core barrel detached itself and fell to the bottom of the hole. It was easily retrieved, and it demonstrated that the core barrel locking mechanism (which is meant to be able to unlock by remote control, and is part of the safety system of the drill) needs to be adjusted to compensate for the increased lubrication effect of the new fluid.

At the end of the day we were able to drill a few cores which came up long and perfect. Cleaning the cores for excess drill fluid turned out to be an easy operation, although the cores were a bit slippery at first. We have a commercial laundry machine for spinning the wet ice chips to separate the fluid from the chips in order to re-cycle the fluid. However the spin program of the laundry machine takes 13 minuttes, and as we produce two loads of chips per drill run, it takes time.
We stopped working after supper, and people in camp are very satisfied with the new fluid and the nice soft coconut oil treated hands obtained.

For lunch we had fried chicken with bean salad and mashed potatoes (chef Nancy) and for supper we had a special: Icelandic Lamb prepared by Sigfus and Thorsteinn.

During our "night" a U.S. C130 visited Station Nord, but a feared low altitude pass over camp did not occur.

Weather: Sun, little haze, no wind and -8 to -6 C.


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