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Hard at Work!

Alone by the Drill

Photograph by D.A. Swanson, 1968.

Reggie operating a trailer-mounted drill rig in Makaopuhi Crater, on Kilauea's east rift zone, in late 1968. He not only was the driller but also supervised the helicopter slinging that transported the drill, trailer, and other equipment to the floor of the 210 m (700 ft) pit crater. A small glitch in communications with the pilot almost led to a tragedy. Attempting to set the drill in the trailer, the pilot mistakenly thought the drill was resting on the floor of the trailer when it was actually balanced precariously on one of the cross pieces in the frame above the floor. The pilot released the sling load, and the heavy drill tumbled to the ground, narrowly missing Reg and Don Swanson, who were there to guide the drill into place. The two of them, thoroughly shaken, agreed that each had lost one of their nine lives that morning.

Working on the portable drill

Photograph by D. Fiske, 1965.

Reg using a portable drill to core through the crust of the Makaopuhi lava lake in 1965-1966. The lake formed during an eruption in March 1965, and studies of core obtained by Reg with this drill, and later with a larger trailer-mounted drill rig, led to a classic study of the cooling and crystallization of the lava by Tom Wright and Reggie.

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Updated: 5 Mar 1999