Core Drilling | Core Sampling

The Basics of Core Drilling

Core drilling is a vital part of geological surveys. Understanding how it works will also shed light on what makes it so important. In the article below, we will explain the basics of core drilling, including the different types and what we do with the samples we have obtained.

Core Drilling

What Are Geological Surveys?

Geological surveys are inquiries into an area’s geological and geographical composition. This means that we use certain tools and scientific processes to collect data about those features in an area. For example, a construction company could hire us at Inyati to inspect and survey a plot of land that was recently purchased a few kilometres from the nearest town.

If the company wants to build apartment complexes and install new infrastructure, before they can do that, they need to know if such a project will be viable in that area. We would then have to conduct a range of tests to determine the site’s suitability, such as geographical mapping, surface sampling, core sampling, and geomapping with radar and other image-capturing tools. Our findings will determine if the project can proceed or if it needs to be adjusted in some way.


The Two Main Types of Core Drilling

Core drills use an annulated drill bit. This means that the drill is essentially hollow and only the outer edge makes contact with the rock or medium being drilled through, leaving the core intact. There are two main types of core drilling, which we will further explain below.

The two main types of core drilling are soft coring and hard coring. Soft coring is used to collect samples from softer substrates like soil or peat, while hard coring is used to collect samples from solid mediums like rock or concrete. While the samples collected in both instances are collected with the use of nested barrels, the drill bits differ. Soft coring uses a drill bit that also acts as a case to ensure the sample remains intact and uncontaminated, while hard coring uses an extended barrel to allow the material to be washed and cooled down during the drilling process.


What We Do with The Core Samples

The samples we obtain from core drilling are an essential component of the data-collection process. This is part of the scientific process of collecting, analysing, and extrapolating from data. Without it, surveys and exploration become mere guesswork, which is both inefficient and dangerous in our line of work.

Core samples can give us invaluable information on the mineral and substrate composition in an area. While radar can tell us the size and location of an underground rock formation, core drilling can tell us what that rock formation is made of. Using the previously mentioned hypothetical construction company, we will further highlight an example below of the kind of relevant data they need.

As any construction company knows, building on dolomite can be dangerous. It is a porous and fragile type of rock, which means it can easily be disturbed or fragmented. It is also soluble, which can lead to it dissolving over time. All these factors together can create one massive risk for any construction project: sinkholes. Sinkholes can open rapidly and unexpectedly in the ground, damaging any nearby buildings or infrastructure and potentially harming people in the area. A thorough analysis of collected core samples will thus help construction companies avoid these hazards.


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