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TitleDiamond drilling in permafrost at Resolute Bay, Northwest Territories
AuthorBremner, P C
SourcePublications of the Dominion Observatory vol. 16, no. 12, 1955, 26 pages,
PublisherCanada Department of Mines and Technical Surveys (Ottawa, Canada)
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
AreaResolute Bay
Subjectssurficial geology/geomorphology; drillholes; permafrost; ground temperatures
Illustrationsschematic diagrams; photographs; tables
Released1955 01 01; 2018 10 09
AbstractIn the summer of 1948 a number of high-resistance ceramic thermometers were placed in shallow holes drilled in the permanently frozen ground at Resolute Bay (latitude 74° 41' N, longitude 94° 54' W). During the next year the temperature of the soil was measured daily by Department of Transport officers. The interest engendered by this work led to the suggestion that an attempt be made to drill deep holes and to place temperature-measuring elements at regular intervals to a depth of 1,000 feet. This project was carried out during the four summers of 1950-53, its object being to drill the holes and install thermometers in them. The reading of the thermometers, the determination of temperatures at various levels and the analysis of the results in terms of heat flow from the earth was to be undertaken by the Department of Transport in cooperation with Professor A. D. Misener at the University of Western Ontario.
The program was carried out under great difficulties. Because of transportation problems a relatively light drill was used and because of the low temperature of the ground the drilling water often froze in the hole and seized the rods, necessitating the use of hot water heated to an initial temperature of 190°F. Even this was not sufficient at depths in excess of 600 feet, for the water had cooled almost to the freezing point before it returned to the surface. The work was hampered by caving formations which could not be cased off because of the small size (li inches) of the hole being drilled. Due to all these difficulties it was necessary to be content with a maximum depth of 650 feet.
Although the original aim of the work was to drill at least one hole of 1,000 feet, the object of determining the temperature gradient at Resolute Bay was almost as well served by the 10 holes successfully completed from 5 to 650 feet in depth, and equipped with temperature elements at 5-foot intervals to 70 feet, at 10-foot intervals thence to 100 feet and at 50-foot intervals to the maximum of 650 feet.
Cores were taken at all depths to 100 feet and at approximately 50-foot intervals to 650 feet. Some of these cores have been submitted to the Geological Survey of Canada for examination, while the thermal properties of others are being studied at the University of Western Ontario in connection with the general analysis of the project.