Posts

,

DBFT – Deep Borehole Field Test, New Mexico

nara vista core drilling company

DBFT Scientific Drilling Project Overview

DOSECC a global core drilling company, in partnership with Enercon Federal Services, was awarded a contract by the US Department of Energy to evaluate the scientific and technical aspects of drilling deep, large diameter boreholes in crystalline rock for the safe and effective disposal of waste. Although holes of this type may eventually be used for the disposal of certain forms of nuclear waste, the purpose of this contract is to investigate the geological and geochemical properties of deep granite and evaluate techniques for drilling large diameter (8-3/4″) holes to a depth of 5,000 meters (16,405 feet) in this environment.  No nuclear waste will be placed in the hole or be used in the project in any way.  The project will be conducted near the town of Nara Visa, New Mexico.  DOSECC will be partnering with Enercon Federal Services, Wastren Advantage and Fugro.

The test will require deeper and wider core drilling services than what has typically been drilled in crystalline rock. Most of 2017 will be spent working with local communities and government entities to communicate the purposes and methods of the testing including: how the site will be responsibly managed during testing, how the land will be restored once the research is complete, as well as permitting the hole and developing the drilling and testing plan. Since previous efforts to test this method in North and South Dakota lacked community support, DOSECC’s strong track record of building trust with residents through transparency and communication was a factor in their selection.

The scientific drilling and data collection itself will not likely commence until the spring of 2018, once the DOE determines the most promising site where a successful community partnership has been established. When the drilling portion begins, the scientific drilling team will be tasked with drilling a 5000-meter deep borehole 8-3/4” in diameter. If successful, a second borehole, 17” in diameter, would be drilled to the same depth at the same site. The data gathered will allow scientists to study the type and temperature of the rock as well as the nature and chemistry of the fluids encountered.

This page will be updated with project developments as they become available.

Related Media:

DOSECC press release

Energy.gov: Studying the Feasibility of Deep Boreholes

NEI Magazine: DOE to Begin Deep Borehold Field Test

Quay County Sun: Exploring Deep Borehole Field Test

Many Residents do not understand that this is a scientific observatory project that will involve no storage of waste, as seen in this recent Quay County Sun article.

 

,

DOSECC Core Drilling Company to Help Determine Viability of Deep Borehole Waste Storage

nara vista core drilling company

Global Scientific Core Drilling Company Working with DOE, Enercon, and NM Community to Drill to New Depths, Determine Viability of Deep Hole Waste Storage

January 23, 2017, Salt Lake City, UT. 

DOSECC Exploration Services, a global drilling company and subsurface technology firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, announced today that they, as part of a team led by Enercon Federal Services, Inc., were awarded a contract by the US Department of Energy to evaluate the scientific and technical aspects of drilling deep, large diameter boreholes in crystalline rock for the safe and effective disposal of waste. Although holes of this type may eventually be used for the disposal of certain forms of nuclear waste, the purpose of this contract is to investigate the geological and geochemical properties of deep granite and evaluate techniques for drilling large diameter (8-3/4″) holes to a depth of 5,000 meters (16,405 feet) in this environment.  No nuclear waste will be placed in the hole or be used in the project in any way.  The project will be conducted near the town of Nara Visa, New Mexico.  DOSECC will be partnering with Enercon Federal Services, Wastren Advantage and Fugro.

“This test is deeper and larger than what has typically been drilled in crystalline rock, yet our team is accustomed to these types of challenges, and is uniquely prepared to contribute to new solutions that will benefit society,” explained DOSECC President Dennis Nielson.  “We have spent the past 23 years conducting scientific drilling projects worldwide, always while working closely with the communities where we work, so this project is right up our alley.”

Most of this year will be spent working with local communities and government entities to communicate the purposes and methods of the testing including: how the site will be responsibly managed during testing, how the land will be restored once the research is complete, as well as permitting the hole and developing the drilling and testing plan. Since previous efforts to test this method in North and South Dakota lacked community support, DOSECC’s strong track record of building trust with residents through transparency and communication was a factor in their selection.  

Marc Eckels, DOSECC Program Director for this project explains, “This will be important to our society as a whole, yet we cannot succeed without the community’s support. We work with them to detail our commitment to a responsible scientific study. In addition, efforts are always made to hire and purchase services and supplies from the local area whenever possible.” Eckels explains further that the data gained from this uniquely deep geological research has potential for other local and societal benefits, such as providing new drilling and testing techniques for geothermal energy applications.

“We are pleased to work with Enercon and have been impressed by their team as we’ve worked together thus far,” reports Philippe Wyffels, DOSECC CFO, “We have a superior site and a superior team to carry out the project, and have had positive experiences thus far with the community, including the passage of a county resolution supporting our scientific work.”

The scientific drilling and data collection itself will not likely commence until the spring of 2018, once the DOE determines the most promising site where a successful community partnership has been established. When the drilling portion begins, the scientific drilling team will be tasked with drilling a 5000-meter deep borehole 8-3/4” in diameter. If successful, a second borehole, 17” in diameter, would be drilled to the same depth at the same site. The data gathered will allow scientists to study the type and temperature of the rock as well as the nature and chemistry of the fluids encountered.

For more information about this and other DOSECC core drilling projects around the world, please visit DOSECC.com.

, ,

Geochemical and thermal evidence of high temperature geothermal activity from the MH-2B slimhole, Western Snake River Plain, Idaho

snake river plain geothermal drilling
, , ,

IDRAS – International Drilling for the Recovery of Aquifer Sands

idras scientific drilling map

IDRAS Scientific Drilling Project Overview

The International Drilling for the Recovery of Aquifer Sands, or “IDRAS” Project, is a current DOSECC scientific drilling project that requires DOSECC’s unique capabilities of custom engineering and fabrication of a unique drilling tool.  The DOSECC team was tasked with providing geoscience researchers the ability to drill core samples in soft sediments that are saturated with water, with the water left in situ and undisturbed in the sample.  The ultimate goal of this tool is to allow researchers on the IDRAS project to better analyze high arsenic groundwater in Southeast Asia, including India, Vietnam, and Bangledesh, that poses a significant health risks.

idras scientific drilling map

 

Project Update: As of October, 2016, the custom-fabricated drilling equipment has been successfully tested at DOSECC headquarters and will next undergo a second test drill an area of the Great Salt Lake that offers similar soil saturation conditions as those to be tested in Southeast Asia. This proofing test will provide validation that the system will meet the goals on the ground in Asia. Earlier tests allowed the design team to make adjustments to the original tool design to optimize the performance of the tool and change some features before this next round of testing.

Project Details

Elevated groundwater arsenic (As) concentrations impact the health of over 100 million villagers across Pakistan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China who rely on tube wells as their main source of drinking water. This ICDP project, likely to be the first of several devoted to groundwater quality over the next decade, seeks to identify the limited set of parameters that need to be considered in order to make meaningful predictions about the vulnerability of a low-As aquifer in the absence of a full-scale study. This is a crucial question from a public health perspective because selectively tapping low-As aquifers is the most effective way of lowering As exposure.

idras geotechnical core drilling servicesAs a first step towards this goal, proponents from 16 different countries will drill an unconsolidated aquifer in the US that is elevated in As. A new tool under development, the freeze-shoe sampler, will be deployed to recover groundwater in contact with aquifer sands from the same depth by sealing the bottom of a coring tube by in situ freezing. Participants, including 9 from affected Asia countries whose travel to the drill site is supported by the project, will process cores collected at three sites with the freeze-shoe sampler on-site in a mobile geomicrobiology laboratory where a suite of labile sediment and groundwater properties will be measured. In addition to setting the stage for future deployments of the freezeshoe sampler in Asia, the new data will shed light on the release of As to groundwater caused by the reductive dissolution of iron (Fe) oxyhydroxides, a process that is mediated by micro-organisms involved in the mineralization of reactive organic carbon.

The freeze-shoe sampler has been developed under separate funding from the U. S. National Science Foundation.  DES has performed this work under a subcontract from Columbia University.  Freeze-shoe technology is being adapted for use on DES’s suite of soft sediment sampling tools that have been used for many years to collect long cores in modern lakes.  This project is the first field test of these new tools.

A Multi-Disciplinary Project

The DOSECC project is led by Lead Project Engineer and Project Manager Brian Grzybowski. He reports:

“I’ve enjoyed working on the project because it spans a pretty broad range of engineering disciplines.  With the freeze properties, it involves the heat transfer and thermodynamics of freezing the core.  It involves electrical control systems, integration, and thermal science and HVCF applications.  Plus, the system has all equipment on board, so when we send it down-hole it is an independent assembly that functions remotely down there, so it must be designed as a stand-alone system.  We have the added challenge of requiring that it be able to survive the downhole conditions of low temperature and high pressure.  When we send the tool downhole on the wire line, and it acts as a hypodermic needle, so it collects a core sample below what the bit has disturbed.  This allows us to collect a 5’ long core sample undisturbed by the drilling process. We freeze 6” at the tip contained inside of a plastic, polycarbonate liner, then we pull it off the drill coring system and transfer it to the researchers at that point.  They then can employ a system that can freeze the top of the core and allow it to be put it into refrigeration storage vertically to avoid the water changing orientation.”

A number of key DOSECC staff members have collaborated on this effort to bring a wide array of expertise and backgrounds to bear in order to solve a unique geoscientific problem for the first time.  From field and drilling experience and engineering design to fabrication capability and geotechnical experience, our wide range of staff members and associates enables DOSECC to bring a great deal of experience to bear for the development of the product.

 

Learn more about the geotechnical drilling applications of the custom equipment designed for IDRAS.

Read more about this scientific drilling project at ICDP.

Related Publication: International Drilling to Recover Aquifer Sands (IDRAs) and Arsenic Contaminated Groundwater in Asia by Alexander van Geen, 12/6/2011

 

, , ,

Surtsey Volcano, Iceland

Surtsey Volcano

Surtsey Volcano

 

Dr. Marie Jackson, University of Utah

Surtsey Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site located off the south coast of Iceland.  This protected island is recognized worldwide as a natural laboratory for investigating processes of rift zone volcanism, hydrothermal alteration and biological colonization of basaltic tephra, and development of industrial resources using palagonitic tuff as a prototype for sustainable, high performance concretes.

An 181m hole was drilled in 1979 (Jakobsson & Moore 1986) and provided a petrological, mineralogical, and thermal framework to understand early eruptive and hydrothermal processes in tephra and feeder dikes and the structure of the volcano above and below sea level. Subsurface microbiota have now been observed in fluids extracted below the 120 °C thermal barrier of microbial life.

In 2016, DOSECC was retained as part of the SUSTAIN drilling program (Surtsey Underwater volcanic System for Thermophiles, Alteration processes and INnovative concretes) to core  two  holes while protecting the sensitive wildlife and vegetative habitats of the Surtsey Natural Reserve. A clean, 200-meter-deep vertical hole with anodized aluminum casing will be  used to explore pore water chemistry, microbiota-water- rock interactions, and seawater compositional modifications over time.

After drilling is complete, a Surtsey Subsurface Observatory will be installed in this hole for long term monitoring and in situ experiments. A 300-meter- long angle hole with steel casing inclined west toward the eastern volcanic vent axis will intersect dike intrusions, provide additional information on deep stratigraphy and structure, and investigate higher temperature zones of the hydrothermal system.

The SUSTAIN drilling program will be the first to sample microbial colonization of tephra, together with its pore water, through a neo-volcanic island from the surface to the seafloor with all precautions taken to avoid contamination from the surroundings. The subseafloor pressure at the Surtsey Microbial Observatory at 0.2 km depth will be lower than that typical of the neovolcanic zone of mid-ocean ridges at ~2.5 km depth. More phase separation (boiling) can therefore occur in this shallow environment at temperatures relevant to microbial metabolism.

Because many of the energy-rich substances capable of supporting autotrophic life (e.g. H 2 , H 2 S, CH 4 ) partition into the vapor phase, there may be higher redox gradients and more spatial diversity in microhabitats in this environment compared to those on the ridge crest. Studies of microbial colonization of the altered subterrestrial tephra and hydrothermal fluids could provide new insights into archaeal lineages in the very young biosphere and, possibly, contribute to understanding the nature of the archaeal ancestor of eukaryotic organisms.

The Surtsey hydrothermal system is one of the few localities worldwide that is actively producing a rare authigenic Al-tobermorite and zeolite assemblage (Jakobsson and Moore, 1986). Tobermorite, Ca 5 Si 6 O 16 (OH) 2 ·4H 2 O, with 11 Å c-axis interlayer spacing, is formed by the action of hydrous fluids on basic igneous rocks. It also occurs among the alteration products at the cement–rock interface of toxic and nuclear waste repositories. It is a candidate sorbent for nuclear and hazardous waste encapsulation owing to its ion-exchange behavior which arises from the facile replacement of labile interlayer cations.

Al-tobermorite and phillipsite also occur as the principal cementitious mineral phases in the volcanic ash-lime mortar of 2000-year-old Roman concrete harbor structures. Little is known about how hydrothermal chemistry and phase-stability relationships in Al-tobermorite and zeolite mineral assemblages evolve as a function of time, temperature, fluid interactions, and microbial activity. The new cores will therefore provide a real-time geologic analog for understanding the evolving microstructures and macroscopic physical properties of tuff and sustainable concrete prototypes with pozzolanic pyroclastic rocks under the variable hydrothermal conditions of the engineered barriers of waste repositories.

Deepening of the inclined hole may resolve the disparity in the two models regarding the width of the subseafloor diatreme structure underneath Surtsey, and possibly intersect the outer wall of the diatreme if it is sufficiently narrow. Analyses of core from the inclined hole should also provide information about how the onset of fragmentation, submarine transport of tephra, and deposition in the submarine environment differs from what is represented in subaerial deposits.

The extent to which Surtsey’s activity was predominantly phreatomagmatic, versus the degree to which it involved substantial volatile-driven magmatic explosivity has important implications for predicting potential hazards to air traffic from future Surtseyan-type eruptions. These processes can be clarified with rigorous analysis of deposits combined with experiments using remelted material from the island.

The unique and distinguishing feature of the drilling program is to apply volcanological, geochemical, mineralogical, microbiological and geoarchaeological perspectives to create a new diagenetic and biogenetic paradigm for pyroclastic rock concretes with cation-exchange properties and long term societal benefits for human and earth ecology.  Drilling is expected to take place in the summer of 2017.

Related Publications

Jakobsson, S., and Moore, J. G. (1986) Hydrothermal minerals and alteration rates at Surtsey volcano, Iceland. GSA Bulletin, 97, 648–659.

, , ,

Lake Challa, Kenya

Lake Challa Scientific Drilling Project

 

Professor Dirk Verschuren, University of Ghent

In late 2016, DOSECC will participate in the DeepCHALLA project in conjunction with the ICDP, the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program.  The project will  require our team to obtain core samples through open-water drilling on Lake Challa, a volcanic crater lake on the border of Tanzania and Kenya. The water body is fed by groundwater from Mount Kilimanjaro and is surrounded by a 100 metres high crater rim, requiring unique considerations for the design, systems engineering, and staff training necessary to obtain quality core samples.

Climate records obtained through sub-tropical cores are compared to those taken in polar regions to determine climate variations. Climate records previously available required the data additional samples from an equatorial region could provide in order to better map historical global climate patterns.  Lake Challa’s location provided an ideal location due to the convergence of both northern and southern hemisphere monsoon activity and the zone of convection between Atlantic and Indian Ocean moisture sources.

The goal of this project was to drill a quality core sample that would clearly show climate and ecosystem conditions over the past 250,000 years.  This span would encompass two full glacial-interglacial cycles and the entire known existence of modern humans in East Africa. The climate record’s length, in tandem with excellent sediment conditions, creates an unprecedented opportunity to better understand climate variability and record extremes and weather events.

Objectives:

  1. Reconstruct two glacial-interglacial cycles of tropical monsoon dynamics over the western Indian Ocean.
  2. Document long-term biodiversity patterns and ecological dynamics of a tropical savanna ecosystem in response to changes in atmospheric CO2, temperature, moisture balance, and fire.
  3. Reconstruct the long-term dynamics of a tropical freshwater ecosystem (nutrient budget, aquatic productivity) in response to climate-driven changes.
  4. Show exactly how often, when, and how much the East African landscape has changed throughout the entire existence of anatomically modern humans

Not only is this project designed to better understand and predict climate and ecosystem variations, it provides critical data in the study of why early human ancestors expanded from Africa into the Middle East and Eurasia ~100,000 years ago.

Read more about this scientific drilling project at ICDP .

November 2016 Lake Challa Scientific Drilling Project Update

,

Preparing for Chicxulub: A Time Lapse of the Load

Preparing for a historic core drilling services project is no easy task.  Watch our team prepare the core drilling rig and all project equipment to be shipped to the Chicxulub drilling site.   Read more about this core drilling project here.

,

A Birds-Eye View of the Rig at Chicxulub, DOSECC Core Drilling Services

Get a birds-eye view of the full core drilling rig used for the historic Chicxulub Crater scientific drilling project.  Read more about this project here.