The Dry Valley Drilling Project is designed to investigate the history of Antarctica in the region of McMurdo Sound through the recovery of core. The project, sponsored by the United States, New Zealand, and Japan, has drilled a 201-m hole and a 179-m hole on Ross Island and will drill to depths up to 300 m in the dry valleys during the forthcoming field season. In the final drilling season (1974–1975) a 1500-m hole in McMurdo Sound will be drilled from annual sea ice.
During the 1972–1973 austral field season, two holes were drilled to depths of 201.17 m and 179.40 m in the volcanic rocks on Ross Island, Antarctica, as the initial drilling phase of the Dry Valley Drilling Project. The sites were located near McMurdo Station to minimize logistics problems and t o test the feasibility of drilling in broken permafrost volcanic rocks. Within this framework the holes on Ross Island were located so as to maximize scientific returns for geologists, hydrologists, geophysicists, geomorphologists, and others. Previously, drilling in bedrock in Antarctica had been limited to 20 m for foundation studies for the nuclear power plan at McMurdo Station and foundation studies at Scott Base.