South Pole Ice Core



Title: Going deep - Drilling project to retrieve longest ice core ever from South Pole
Author: Rejcek, P.
Periodical: The Antarctic Sun

The South Pole is a very cold place, with an average annual temperature of around minus 50 degrees Celsius. It's become a premiere location for a variety of atmospheric and astrophysical experiments thanks to its cold, clean, stable atmosphere.

Even the ice is especially cold at the bottom of the world - and that's also a good thing for a team of researchers interested in extracting the first deep ice core at the South Pole.

"Ice cores are a great way to look into the past," said T.J. Fudge, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington who was the on-site science lead for the last few weeks of drilling operations during the 2014-15 summer season.

Working in two shifts around-the-clock - and in a large unheated tent at an ambient temperature of about minus 25C - the group reached a depth of 736 meters below the surface on Saturday, Jan. 24, before shutting down operations until next year. That's almost halfway to the goal of 1,500 meters - a depth estimated to cover about 40,000 years of climate history.

The National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Programs is funding the project, called SPICE, for South Pole Ice Core.

Year: 2015