Director Anders Graver followed two researchers as they tested a newly developed electric melt-tip drill called HotRod for the first time in 2022. This turned into the documentary film ‘The Color of Ice’, which premieres at the documentary film festival CPH:DOX this year.
In the documentary, you follow, among others, Senior Researcher William Colgan and Engineer Christopher Shields, both from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), as they test the electromechanical melt-tip drill and find out whether the many years of development work and laboratory tests will pay off.
Join the scientists in their tent when they fail
"Part of research is that we try things out and learn from our mistakes. That is fundamental to research," says Christopher Shields.
And this is proven in the documentary, as the melt-tip drill overheats during the first test. This is just another step on the way to the bottom – the bottom of the Greenland Ice Sheet that is! The test was designed primarily to test the support instruments, so William Colgan and Christopher Shields just made do with an old version of the electric fusion drill. When they used a new drill a few days later, they reached the rock under the ice in just one day.
A hunter named Olennguaq Kristensen also participates in the film and the viewer witnesses how both the hunter and the two researchers have to deal with the ice, which creates the practical framework for their work. For one of them, the Greenland Ice Sheet is his livelihood, for the other two, the ice sheet is the primary object of their trip. What they have in common is their attempt to understand the ice, and they experience it changing over time.
Foto: William Colgan holds the approximately two-metre-long melt-tip drill in front of a tent on the Greenland Ice Sheet. (Photo: Underground Channel, Humbug Film)