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Estimating and managing blowout risk during access to subglacial Antarctic lakes

Estimating and managing blowout risk during access to subglacial Antarctic lakes
Estimating and managing blowout risk during access to subglacial Antarctic lakes
As Antarctic subglacial lake research progresses to in situ exploration an important topic is the lake's probable gas concentration. Depending on hydrological setting, subglacial lakes may contain large amounts of dissolved gas or gas trapped within clathrates. Consequently, access can be potentially dangerous due to the risk of blowout where depressurization could lead to high-speed ejection of water and gas from a borehole. We present a structured approach to assess the blowout risk in subglacial lake exploration. The approach integrates a generic event tree, applicable to open and closed hydrological systems, with site-specific expert judgment incorporating rigorous probabilistic formulations. The methodology is applied to a motivating example: Ellsworth Subglacial Lake. Judgments elicited through a formal process were provided by five experts with 88 years combined experience that, after aggregation, gave a median risk of blowout of 1 in 2186 with a lower quartile of 1 in 3433 and an upper quartile of 1 in 1341. This approach can be applied to any subglacial lake given a modicum of knowledge on its hydrological setting, as uncertainty can be captured through the elicited judgments. Additionally, the event tree analysis informs blowout mitigation strategies to reduce risk of injury or death.
0954-1020
107-118
Brito, M.P.
82e798e7-e032-4841-992e-81c6f13a9e6c
Griffiths, G.
2887c3c7-95f2-4834-b3f6-0284344d3580
Mowlem, M.
6f633ca2-298f-48ee-a025-ce52dd62124f
Makinson, K.
5d1c3a21-c875-4aee-854e-d6737f38dca1
Brito, M.P.
82e798e7-e032-4841-992e-81c6f13a9e6c
Griffiths, G.
2887c3c7-95f2-4834-b3f6-0284344d3580
Mowlem, M.
6f633ca2-298f-48ee-a025-ce52dd62124f
Makinson, K.
5d1c3a21-c875-4aee-854e-d6737f38dca1

Brito, M.P., Griffiths, G., Mowlem, M. and Makinson, K. (2013) Estimating and managing blowout risk during access to subglacial Antarctic lakes. Antarctic Science, 25 (1), 107-118. (doi:10.1017/S0954102012000442).

Record type: Article

Abstract

As Antarctic subglacial lake research progresses to in situ exploration an important topic is the lake's probable gas concentration. Depending on hydrological setting, subglacial lakes may contain large amounts of dissolved gas or gas trapped within clathrates. Consequently, access can be potentially dangerous due to the risk of blowout where depressurization could lead to high-speed ejection of water and gas from a borehole. We present a structured approach to assess the blowout risk in subglacial lake exploration. The approach integrates a generic event tree, applicable to open and closed hydrological systems, with site-specific expert judgment incorporating rigorous probabilistic formulations. The methodology is applied to a motivating example: Ellsworth Subglacial Lake. Judgments elicited through a formal process were provided by five experts with 88 years combined experience that, after aggregation, gave a median risk of blowout of 1 in 2186 with a lower quartile of 1 in 3433 and an upper quartile of 1 in 1341. This approach can be applied to any subglacial lake given a modicum of knowledge on its hydrological setting, as uncertainty can be captured through the elicited judgments. Additionally, the event tree analysis informs blowout mitigation strategies to reduce risk of injury or death.

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e-pub ahead of print date: August 2012
Published date: February 2013
Organisations: Engineering Science Unit, Ocean Technology and Engineering

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 207317
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/207317
ISSN: 0954-1020
PURE UUID: bf8303f5-b062-4200-90a3-fd5ff20b0f32

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Date deposited: 09 Jan 2012 14:30
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 10:50

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Contributors

Author: M.P. Brito
Author: G. Griffiths
Author: M. Mowlem
Author: K. Makinson

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