South Pole Ice Core


The South Pole ice core project is a U.S. effort funded by the National Science Foundation to drill and recover a new ice core from South Pole, Antarctica. The ice core will be drilled to a depth of 1500 meters, providing an environmental record spanning approximately 40,000 years that will be used to investigate the magnitude and timing of changes in climate and climate forcing through time.

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Drilling is planned for the 2014-2015 (~700 m / through the Holocene) and 2015-2016 (to 1500 m / 40,000 years) field seasons. The core will be recovered with a new intermediate depth drill currently under development by IDDO, based on the Danish Hans Tausen drill design.

The ice core we will obtain will be 9.8 cm in diameter, about ½ the volume of the WAIS Divide ice core, so availability of ice will be less. However, with some advanced planning and creative sampling work we should still be able to accommodate a number of projects that want to analyze the ice.

News Headlines

26 March 2015

Going deep – Drilling project to retrieve longest ice core ever from South Pole. Read More →

15 December 2014

Drilling of the South Pole ice core has Started! Read More →

19 November 2014

Site selection paper is now published in Annals of Glaciology Read More →


Science Proposals / Sample Requests

U.S. investigators submitting proposals requiring ice from the South Pole ice core should contact the South Pole ice core Science Coordination Office (SCO) prior to submitting. The SCO will provide a letter for inclusion with the proposals, assessing whether the ice core request is consistent with the South Pole ice core operation plan. To initiate the process, investigators should submit a SAMPLE REQUEST FORM to the SCO. Sample requests may take up to 6 weeks to process depending on the complexity of the request and other workloads.

If the SCO approves your Sample Request, the SCO will provide you with a Letter of Support stating that your proposal is consistent with the South Pole ice core operation plan. ** The Letter of Support needs to be submitted with your NSF proposal. **