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Transportable Array demonstrates its new drilling rig and sensor emplacement routine for PASSCAL.

March 7th, 2017

With the expansion of TA Alaska into even more remote regions of Alaska and Canada it was necessary to develop and construct an extremely lightweight, high performance helicopter portable air rotary drill weighing less than 1700 lbs and capable of installing a 6” steel casing 2.7m deep in any type of ground including solid rock, frost shattered overburden, cobbles and frozen soils.  Based on these parameters, a custom drill rig system was commissioned and tested by IRIS for specific use on the project.  At PASSCAL we had the opportunity to be among the first testing locations for the newly constructed third generation Purple Drill.  Ryan Bierma, and Max Enders along with Bob Busby from IRIS and Mike Lundgren  from Lundgren Systems (rig developer) operated the rig, and then Ryan and Max demonstrated a mock installation of an STS-5A seismic sensor at the test site behind PASSCAL in Socorro, NM.


The borehole was drilled to a depth of 2.5 m while emplacing a schedule 10 steel casing at the same time. An aluminum plug was installed at the bottom of the casing, and grout was pumped into the bottom of the shallow borehole through the plug. About 2 liters of sand were poured in to the hole and tamped down to create a level surface. The sensor was then lowered to the sand layer and oriented using an OCTANS system.







The team prepares to drill.



A wide angle view of the deployment.
(Click images for larger versions.)





Mike Lundgren of Lundgren Systems gets the drill ready for work, as IRIS/PASSCAL's Pnina Miller looks on.





Ready, set, drill!






The drilling in progress.

(Click image to see the video.)






Adding some shaft to the drill bit.

(Click image to see the video.)







Removing the drill from the cased hole.

(Click image to see the video.)




Max Enders of TA (standing, hardhat) watches as colleague Ryan Bierma (hardhat, kneeling) prepares the grout plug. Tim Parker (Nanometrics), Jason Hebert (PASSCAL), and Katrin Hafner (IRIS) look on.






Ryan Bierma (hardhat) checking the installation so far. Background observers L-R: Sandi Azevedo (TA), Paul Carpenter (PASSCAL), Jason Hebert (PASSCAL), Katrin Hafner (IRIS), and Carl Ebeling (UCSD, Project IDA)






Max Enders (left, hardhat) observes Ryan Bierma (right, hardhat) putting the grout mix in the hole. Background observers L-R: Paul Carpenter (PASSCAL), Jason Hebert (PASSCAL), Katrin Hafner (IRIS), Carl Ebeling (UCSD) and Bob Busby (IRIS).







Page 1 of the trusty Install Sheet.








Max Enders (left) listens to Ryan Bierma discussing sensor hookups. At right: Kevin Nikolaus (PASSCAL), Carl Ebeling (UCSD).








Kent Anderson of IRIS (left) assists Max Enders with some down-hole connections.






Max Enders and Ryan Bierma lowering the sensor to the sand layer. Carl Ebeling (UCSD) is at left; Justin Sweet (IRIS) is on the right, helping to guide cables. Not visible at left, but shown in the video: Kevin Nikolaus (PASSCAL, center), Ramon Molina (PASSCAL, far right).

(Click image to see the video.)









Max Enders demonstrates how to orient the buried sensor using the OCTANS IXSEA system. Background observers L-R: Jason Hebert (PASSCAL), Dean Childs (PASSCAL), Carl Ebeling (UCSD).