133. Electric Rock-Core Drill (1980s)

Electric Rock-Core Drill

In the early 1960s, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography’s Metrology Division developed a rock-core drill to recover bedrock from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where two tectonic plates meet. The first version, operated by hydrostatic pressure, successfully cored basalts in water depths of at least 800 metres. In the 1980s, the Geological Survey of Canada developed a modified version of it: the electric rock-core drill. It was used to obtain cores from more than 40 locations from Hudson Strait, along the Baffin Shelf, to the northern end of Baffin Island.

These cores revealed the presence of rocks that were about 450 million years old under Hudson Strait and the southeastern Baffin Shelf, even older rocks under the inner part of the southeastern Baffin Shelf and in the inner part of Cumberland Sound, and much younger rocks (about 80 million years old) under the northeastern Baffin Shelf. 

The ages of the rocks were determined from microfossils. Prior to the recovery and study of the cores from the shallow rock-core drilling, the geology of the Baffin Shelf and adjacent areas was largely conjectural. This drill has provided our only knowledge of the bedrock geology of the Baffin Shelf.

Category: Equipment and Instrumentation

Decade: 1980s


Maclean, B., Williams, G.L., and Fowler, G.A., 2014. Bedrock studies of the Baffin Island Shelf and Hudson Strait: a Technological and Scientific Adventure; in Voyage of Discovery: Fifty Years of Marine Research at Canada’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography, (ed.) D.N. Nettleship, D.C. Gordon, C.F.M. Lewis, and M.P. Latremouille; Bedford Institute of Oceanography-Oceans Association, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, p. 331-336.

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