Scientists Drill Through Antarctica's Ice to Bedrock

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A team of scientists made up from nine separate countries and led by Victoria University have successfully drilled through 760 metres of ice to reach bedrock on the Antarctic island of Roosevelt Island in the Ross Sea.

Scientists Drill to Bedrock in Antarctica
The drill trench tent.

The project was led by Dr. Nancy Bertler of Victoria University’s Antarctic Research Centre and GNS Science.

“The drill cores will provide the most detailed record of the climate history of the Ross Sea region for the last 30,000 years—the time during which the coastal margin of the Antarctic ice sheet retreated following the last great ice age,” says Dr Bertler, by satellite phone from the camp on Roosevelt Island.

“I am thrilled with the team’s success, which has been many years in the planning—and has involved four summers of field work doing drill site surveys, setting up the drill system and camp, as well as the drilling itself.”

The ice core will be analysed at a purpose-built National Ice Core Research Facility at GNS Science this year and is set to open up a world of unknowns surrounding the Ross Sea region; questions like how the region will respond to global warming and what the region was like the last time our planet’s climate was as warm as it is today.

Director of the Antarctic Research Centre, Professor Tim Naish, received the news by satellite phone. “The team are obviously delighted—I am extremely proud of them for successfully obtaining one of most important climate archives from Antarctica to date.”

Source: Victoria University by way of Physorg

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