An international team of researchers is hoping to drill to more than 2700 metres depth from the surface of Earth in Antarctica in their search for ice that is up to 1.5 million years old. The oldest ice on Earth probably is hiding somewhere there. 

Scientists hope to scoop out relics from long past eras – dust that settled on the surface long ago and bubbles of air trapped by ancient blizzards. This will give them a glance into how the Earth’s climate has changed in the past.

     

Scientists to unlock 1.5 million-year-oldest ice on Earth "trapped" 2.5 km beneath Antarctica

WHAT?

 The European scientists looking for some of the oldest ice on the planet have zeroed in on a particular spot in Antarctica, where they will drill more than 1.5 miles (2.7 kilometers) below the surface of the ice.

WHEN?

Tuesday, 14/09/2021

WHERE?

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.

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The frozen continent of Antarctica holds numerous secrets in its belly and therefore drilling into the ice of the said continent is like going back in time. Scientists hope to scoop out relics from long past eras – dust that settled on the surface long ago and bubbles of air trapped by ancient blizzards. This will give them a glance into how the Earth’s climate has changed in the past. Packed into every metre of ice are thousands of years worth of these precious artefacts - a geological treasure trove.

Earlier, Professor Carlo Barbante, an analytical chemist at Ca'Foscari University of Venice, Italy, and coordinator of the Beyond EPICA project that is hoping to recover the ice cores -  told the European Commission that over the last few million years, the Earth’s climate has oscillated between cold glacial periods of time and shorter, warmer interglacial periods.