15. April 2008

Permafrost boreholes in Colesdal, Svalbard

Contact person for additional information: Hanne H. Christiansen

Text and photos by Ole Humlum


SNSK (Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani) drilling camp in Colesdalen, April 10, 2008, looking north. The drilling operation takes place inside the blue drilling tower. The white container contains water for drilling purposes, produced by snow taken from the excavation to the left.


February-April 2008 SNSK (Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani) is drilling a number of 200-300 m deep boreholes in the area around Colesdalen, about 25 km southwest of Longyearbyen, to map the occurence of coal-bearing seams in the area. SNSK has kindly agreed that TSP-Norway after termination of the drilling operation place chasings in the upper part of selected boreholes, to make later installation of thermistor strings possible. This will provide TSP-Norway with a unique regional overview of permafrost temperatures in different geomorphological settings in central Svalbard.


SNSK-TSP-Norway Colesdal borehole no 1, in lowermost Colesdal. Photo to the left shows the general setting, looking southeast. The photo to the right shows Hanne H. Christiansen at the borehole after installation of the chasing (yellow).


One of the boreholes was equipped with chasing by Ullrich Neumann late March 2008, and now awaits installation of a thermistor string the coming summer. The drilling operation at SNSK-TSP-Norway Colesdal borehole no 2 in upper Colesdal was terminated March 12, 2008, and the chasing material was transported from Longyearbyen across the mountains to the drilling site by Ullrich Neumann and Ole Humlum (see photos below). The following day the uppermost 30 m of the borehole was secured by installing the chasing under difficult conditions, thanks to the able SNSK drilling staff.


Ullrich Neumann (left) with SNSK drilling master at the SNSK-TSP-Norway Colesdal borehole no 2, April 12, 2008. The photo to the right shows the drilling rod entering the ground below the drilling tower (see overview photo at top of this page).