South Pole Ice Core

On January 23, 2016, the South Pole Ice Core (SPICEcore) project reached its final depth of 1751 meters (5745 feet; 1.1 miles).

The stable isotope, aerosol, and atmospheric gas records in ice cores provide exceptional archives of past climate. Supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs, a new 1751-meter long ice core was recovered at the South Pole, extending more than 54,000 years into the past (Winski and others, 2019). The ice core was drilled during the 2014-2015 field season (0 to 736 meters) and 2015-2016 field season (736 to 1751 meters) using the new U.S. Intermediate Depth Drill. The South Pole site preserves unique climate records by combining cold temperatures typical of East Antarctica with a relatively high accumulation rate due to West Antarctic influence. The South Pole ice core extends the international array of ice cores used to investigate environmental change since the last glacial/interglacial transition. The scientific goal is to assess and understand changes in atmospheric chemistry, climate, and biogeochemistry.

Additional Reading

Getting to the Bottom of SPICECORE – Researchers drill deep into the ice beneath the South Pole to sample Earth's ancient atmosphere
The Antarctic Sun
April 12, 2016
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Going deep – Drilling project to retrieve longest ice core ever from South Pole
The Antarctic Sun
March 26, 2015
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Scientists drilling first deep ice core at the South Pole
University of Washington Press Release
January 20, 2015
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SPICE-ing it up – New project plans to retrieve South Pole ice core beginning in 2014-15
The Antarctic Sun
March 8, 2013
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