What is an Ice Auger?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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An ice auger is a device which is designed to drill holes through ice. Augers drill very clean, tight, precise holes which make them especially suited to penetrating ice. There are a number of settings in which ice augers may be utilized, and they are commonly stocked at hardware stores in regions where ice is present. They can also be ordered directly from manufacturers, as may be done in cases when a specialty product is needed.

The design of an auger consists of a threaded helical shaft which is attached to a mode of power. As the shaft penetrates, the threads dig in, creating a hole and lifting out waste materials along the way. This keeps the edge of the hole even and clean, no matter how large a hole is being created. The basic auger design is used in a number of other settings as well.

Some ice augers are hand powered. The user turns a crank, usually at a steady rate, to push the drill into the ice until it reaches the desired depth. An ice auger can also be connected to a mechanical source of power, which can range from a small generator to a large crane, depending on the setting in which the device is being used.


One concern with an ice auger is that since the device can be used on settings where ice covers water, such as lakes, the weight of objects and people around the auger can become dangerous. While the auger is designed to drill a clean hole which does not promote cracking, it does weaken the ice, and people or equipment could fall through during or after the drilling.

A common use of this device is in ice fishing. The fisherman uses an ice auger to create a hole to fish through, sometimes erecting a tent or shed over the hole for shelter. Ice fishing is a popular recreation in some regions of the world, and in these areas, it is sometimes possible to rent an ice auger for the purpose of ice fishing.

Another use is in exploration and scientific research. Augers can be used in the collection of core samples, or to bore holes through the ice for the purpose of lowering sampling devices and other scientific equipment. Everyone from geologists sampling the bottom of ice-bound lakes to climate researchers studying historical climate trends can utilize ice augers in their work.



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