Steam Ice Drills

  • Pavel G. TalalayEmail author
Part of the Springer Geophysics book series (SPRINGERGEOPHYS)


Steam ice drills are used for shallow drilling to install ablation stakes, pressure transducers, and other sensors and to create large-diameter holes for sewage disposal and construction of water wells. During drilling, steam produced by boilers or steam generators flows through an insulated hose into the borehole, where it condenses and melts the ice.


Closed boiler Steam generator Insulated hose Sewage and wastewater disposal 


  1. Chistyakov VK, Skurko AM, Zemtsov AA et al (1988) Eksperimental’niye burobie raboti na Severnoi Zemle v 1975–1985 gg. [Experimental drilling operations at Severnaya Zemlya in 1975–1985]. Geograficheskie i glyatsiologicheskie issledovaniya v polarnikh stranakh [Geographical and glaciological investigations in polar regions] Leningrad, Gidrometroizdat, pp 33–42. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  2. Clark EF (1965) Camp Century evolution of concept and history of design construction and performance. USA CRREL Tech. Rep. 174Google Scholar
  3. Dyrby K (2015) Recommendation of components for an Autonomous Automatic Mass-balance Station (AAMS). Bachelor’s thesis. Arctic Technology Center. Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, June 2015, 53 pGoogle Scholar
  4. Gieck K, Gieck R (2006) Engineering formula, 8th edn. McGraw-Hill Professional, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Gillet F (1975) Steam, hot-water and electrical thermal drills for temperate glaciers. J Glaciol 14(70):171–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Heucke E (1999) A light portable steam—driven ice drill suitable for drilling holes in ice and firn. Geogr Ann 81(4):603–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hodge SM (1971) A new version of a steam-operated ice drill. J Glaciol 10(60):387–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Howorka F (1965) A steam-operated ice drill for the installation of ablation stakes on glaciers. J Glaciol 5(41):749–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Irwin J (n.d.) It’s been a bad year if you’re a glacier. Washington’s National Park Fund. Retrieved 28 May, 2018 from
  10. Ishizawa K, Takahashi A (1994) Borehole drilling for sewage disposal at Asuka Station, East Antarctica. Mem. Natl Inst Polar Res Spec Issue 49:212–217Google Scholar
  11. Ishizawa K, Takeuchi S, Takahashi A (1990) Borehole drilling for sewage disposal and rise of the hole’s bottom at Asuka Station East Antarctica. Nankyoku Shiryô (Antarctic Record) 34(2):145–155 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  12. Lunardini VJ, Rand J (1995) Thermal design of an Antarctic water well. USA CRREL Spec. Rep. 95–10Google Scholar
  13. Mellor M (1969) Utilities on permanent snowfields. USA CRREL Monograph III-A2dGoogle Scholar
  14. Naruse R, Suzuki Y (1975) A steam–operated drill used by the 14th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (1972–1974). Antarctic Record 53:53–56Google Scholar
  15. Schmitt RP, Rodriguez R (1963) Glacier water supply and sewage disposal systems. In: Symposium on Antarctic Logistics, 13–17 August, 1962, Boulder, Colorado. National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, pp 329–338Google Scholar
  16. Solov’ev GN, Pashkevich VM, Zemtsov AA (1989) Polevyie ispytania maketa termo-burovogo snaryada PTBS-112 na glyarsiologicheskom poligone “Kupol Vavilova” [Field tests of thermal drill PTBS-112 at glaciological base “Kupol Vavilova”]. Povyshenie effektivnosti i in-formativnosti tekhnologii burenia skvazhin malogo diametra na tberdyie poleznyie iskopaemyie: Sbornik nauchnikh trudov [Increasing of efficiency and informative value of drilling technology of small-diameter holes for solid minerals: Collection of articles]. All-Union Research Institute of Prospecting Methods and Technique (VITR), pp 52–59. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  17. Voyeykov AA (1935) Parovoi bur dlya l’da i rabota s nim [Steam borer for the ice and it’s use]. Severnyi Morskoi Put’. Sbornik statei po gidrografii i moreplavaniyu [Northern Sea Route. Collection of articles on hydrography and navigation] 2, Leningrad, Publishing House of Glavsevmorputi, pp 101–106Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geological Publishing House and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Construction EngineeringJilin UniversityChangchunChina

Personalised recommendations