Researchers have revealed plans for drilling into Antarctican ice sheets to recover one of the oldest continuous cores of ice.
Located in the easter region of Antarctica is a 4,500-foot snow hill called Law Dome – under its surface is an ice core considered to be one of the ‘Holy Grails’ of Antarctica.
Scientists can use ice cores as a way to examine the past and gain insight into Earth’s climate history. CNET.
They may also offer insight into Antarctica, which could help scientists address climate change.
“It’s probably the most pure recorder of environmental information of any paleoclimate archive,”Tas van Ommen is an Australian Antarctic Division ice core scientist.
This particular icecore is one million years old.
Retrieving it is not an easy task and requires a team consisting of scientists and expensive drilling tools and gear.
Joel Pedro, an Australian scientist, is taking up the challenge through a project called Million Year Ice Core.
It was originally scheduled to begin in the summer of 2021/22, but it was delayed due to COVID, poor weather conditions and other factors.
The team initially set out to find a different ice core in Little Dome C, but they were defeated by European scientists.
Pedro’s team was able to continue their mission in the Law Dome.
The race for the valuable core of ice is now on. This could be a key period in Earth’s historical history and help scientists to understand it.
“Sometime between 1.2 million and 800,000 years ago, the planet underwent a revolution,”CNET included their report.
“Before this time, Earth experienced an ice age, a period of cooler temperatures and accelerated ice sheet formation, once every 41,000 years.”
“But for the last million years, the ice age cycles have been operating on 100,000-year cycles. Something changed. Scientists aren’t sure what.”
Researchers could use this particular ice core to determine if carbon dioxide concentrations in the ice ice could have played a part during this time.
“It’s giving you a piece of the jigsaw,” van Ommen said.
“But if you really want to understand processes, cause and effect and the way things evolve, it’s much harder if you just get little jigsaw pieces,”He added.
It’s not clear what data science the piece of ice will produce, but it is likely to prove quite informative.
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