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Deep drilling at Vostok station, Antarctica: history and recent events

  • N.I. Vasiliev (a1), P.G. Talalay (a1), N.E. Bobin (a1), V.K. Chistyakov (a1), V.M. Zubkov (a1), A.V. Krasilev (a1), A.N. Dmitriev (a1), S.V. Yankilevich (a1) and V.Ya. Lipenkov (a2)...

Deep drilling into the ice sheet at Vostok station, Antarctica, was started by specialists of the Leningrad Mining Institute (since 1991, St Petersburg State Mining Institute) in 1970. Five deep holes were cored: hole No. 1 to 952 m; hole No. 2 to 450.4 m; hole No. 3G (3G-1, 3G-2) to 2201.7 m; hole No. 4G (4G-1, 4G-2) to 2546.4 m; and hole No. 5G (5G-1) to 3650.2 m depth. Drilling of hole 5G-1 is not yet complete. The deep drilling at Vostok station has had successes and problems. All the deep holes at Vostok have undergone at least one offset drilling operation because of problems with lost drills. These deviations were made successfully using a thermal drilling technique. Several drilling records have been achieved at Vostok station. The deepest dry hole, No. 1 (952 m), was made during Soviet Antarctic Expedition (SAE) 17 in 1972. The deepest fluid-filled hole, No. 5G-1, made by a thermal drill (TBZS-132), reached 2755 m during SAE 38 in 1993. The deepest fluid-filled hole in ice, No. 5G-1, was drilled with a KEMS-132 electromechanical drill and was stopped above Vostok Subglacial Lake at 3650.2 m depth during Russian Antarctic Expedition (RAE) 51 in 2006.

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Annals of Glaciology
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