Saturday, 13 April 2013

Drilling the Archerbeck Borehole, Canonbie, Dumfriesshire.


BGS image ID: P001457
Archerbeck Borehole, Canonbie, Dumfriesshire.  Drilling at Archerbeck was part of the Geological Survey of Great Britain exploratory boring programme. It commenced in 1954 and was completed in 1955.

Each length of drilling pipe is raised by the hoisting system consisting of the crown block and travelling block. When the joint appears the drillstring is wedged in place in the drilling floor by using slips (so it is not lost down the hole) then the two sections of pipe are unscrewed. The drawworks can be seen behind the drilling pipe. It is the winch that raises the travelling block through the crown block. Unscrewing and stacking drilling rods while pulling out. This process is required when changing the drilling bit or when taking a solid core. The latter is very time consuming and therefore costly as the full drillstring needs to be retrieved for each length of core.

Date taken: 1955
BGS old photograph number:  C04247


Archerbeck Borehole, Canonbie, Dumfriesshire. A length of core just removed from the core barrel, boxed and marked ready for transport to the core-shed.  A length of core just removed from the core barrel, boxed and marked ready for transport to the core-shed. Note how the core comes out in sections, this is typical. The 'way up' of the core is marked on each piece. The reamer can be seen to the right of the driller on the left.
BGS image ID: P001460
A length of core just removed from the core barrel, boxed and marked ready for transport to the core-shed. Note how the core comes out in sections, this is typical. The 'way up' of the core is marked on each piece. The reamer can be seen to the right of the driller on the left.

Date taken: 1955
BGS old photograph number:  C04250

A major scientific borehole is currently being drilled NOW in the Scottish Borders. The project is called TWeed - Tetrapod World: early Evolution. It is a collaboration led by the University of Cambridge with members from BGS, National Museums Scotland, University of Southampton and University of Leicester. The aim of TWeed is to discover the missing links in how modern species evolved from 359 million year old limbed vertebrates, the tetrapods, the so called 'Romer's Gap' in the fossil record.

Updates on the drilling can be found on the TetrapodWorld blog.

Bob McIntosh

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