We describe a high-precision (0.1-1.0 mK) borehole-temperature (BT) logging system developed at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for use in remote polar regions. We discuss calibration, operational and data-processing procedures, and present an analysis of the measurement errors. The system is modular to facilitate calibration procedures and field repairs. By interchanging logging cables and temperature sensors, measurements can be made in either shallow air-filled boreholes or liquid-filled holes up to 7 km deep. Data can be acquired in either incremental or continuous-logging modes. The precision of data collected by the new logging system is high enough to detect and quantify various thermal effects at the milli-Kelvin level. To illustrate this capability, we present sample data from the 3 km deep borehole at GISP2, Greenland, and from a 130m deep air-filled hole at Taylor Dome, Antarctica. The precision of the processed GTSP2 continuous temperature logs is 0.25-0.34 mK, while the accuracy is estimated to be 4.5 mK. The effects of fluid convection and the dissipation of the thermal disturbance caused by drilling the borehole are clearly visible in the data. The precision of the incremental Taylor Dome measurements varies from 0.11 to 0.32mK, depending on the wind strength during the experiments. With this precision, we found that temperature fluctuations and multi-hour trends in the BT measurements correlate well with atmospheric-pressure changes.
Additional publication details
A new high-precision borehole-temperature logging system used at GISP2, Greenland, and Taylor Dome, Antarctica