The study area, pristine and untouched, is located in one of the largest areas of exposed late Cenozoic volcanic rocks in Antarctica. In order to help date and log paleoclimate and tectonic lithology of the Victoria Land Basin, ANtartic geologic DRILLing (ANDRILL) researchers drilled a rock core at the AND-2A location. ANDRILL researchers used biodegradable water-based drilling fluids, to reach a depth of 1,139 meters below sea floor. The densifying compounds, primarily consisting of potassium chloride, sea water, and organic compounds, are considered to be environmentally friendly. In theory, the drilling fluids are circulated and reused with small additions being made daily; however, approximately 5.6 x 105 liters were lost down hole during the entire drilling period. Due to the volume lost, it is necessary to determine the lateral extent of drilling fluid from the corehole. This research focused on developing a three-dimensional drilling fluid flow model based upon data collected by ANDRILL researchers in 2007. The model was developed utilizing Groundwater Vistas™, a visual user interface to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) groundwater flow model MODFLOW, to assign physical characteristics, such as porosity and hydraulic conductivity. This research has determined that fluid loss from the AND-2A drilling operations could have migrated 3 to 5 meters from the corehole. This radial distance was determined by the advective flow model and does not evaluate fracture flow that could potentially increase the migration distances or retardation or retention effects. Development of this fate and transport model serves as a guide for future studies to improve the understanding and potential ecological impacts of geologic drilling in Antarctica and other pristine environments.
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|Commitee:||Booth, Colin, Lenczewski, Melissa, Powell, Ross|
|School:||Northern Illinois University|
|Department:||Geology and Environmental Geosciences|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 51/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||AND-2A, ANDRILL, Antarctica, Model, Transport|
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