Australian scientists launch ambitious Antarctic drilling project

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 28, 2021
Adjust font size:

CANBERRA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Antarctic Division on Tuesday launched a quest to recover the oldest ice ever drilled from the continent.

Six researchers will start work on the Million Year Ice Core Project in December.

As one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by Australian scientists, the project aims to help better understand historic climatic shifts by analyzing gases and chemicals trapped in ancient ice.

"This is a modern-day Antarctic adventure that conjures all the images of legendary exploration," Environment Minister Sussan Ley told News Corp Australia.

The first six researchers will be flown into Little Dome C, an area of the Antarctic Plateau more than 1,000 km from the AAD's Casey Research Station where they will spend a month beginning a pilot drilling program.

If successful, the main project will begin in 2022-23 with 16 researchers using a custom made 9-meter ice drill over four to five seasons in order to secure ice buried up to 2,800 meters below the surface.

"One of the grand challenges in climate science in general is to push the ice core record back beyond the oldest ice core record, currently 800,000 years," lead project scientist Joel Pedro said.

"That's exciting and important because beyond 800,000 the climate enters a different state, in which ice ages are coming and going more rapidly and there's less ice on the planet.

"We don't yet understand this change, but leading hypotheses are that CO2 played a major role."

Each drilling season will last approximately eight weeks over summer and will first require six ice tractors and 29 sleds to carry accommodation modules, food and supplies and drilling equipment from Casey to Little Dome C. Enditem

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from