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Borehole Drilling

Drilling is the most costly and difficult control aspect of installing a borehole strainmeter. The Plate Boundary Observatory, drilling over 125 holes during the construction phase, gained valuable skills in developing Statements of Work, Drilling Plans, Contracts and management of drilling operations. Costs for a borehole during the construction of the Plate Boundary Observatory ranged from 33K to over 200K. Many factors go into designing and drilling a hole.

Selection of Driller

The installation of a borehole strainmeter requires highly competent drillers and modern drilling equipment. Identifying these drillers and developing a working long term relationship with them is a time consuming and difficult task.

Development of a Statement of Work and Drilling Instructions

The Statement of Work is critical. This document will allow you to choose only competent drillers in the contracting process through detailed specification of equipment and drilling experience required. This document also outlines critical choices for cost control, for instance coring the target installation zone is highly desirable but can be extremely costly if done incorrectly. Verticality of the hole is a requirement of the strainmeter installation and requires the use of centralizers and experience drillers.


Even with a perfect contract and competent drillers, the drilling phase of the operation requires active and intense management. The decision making process must be done on-site and in real-time with outcomes that can directly impact the cost and success of the borehole.


Last modified: 2019-12-24  02:12:50  America/Denver