Antarctic project to drill for oldest-ever ice core

International team plans to extract 1.5-million-year-old ice that holds secrets about the planet’s ancient climate.

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Geoscientists are getting ready to dig up ice that is older than anything ever excavated before.

After two years of extensive reconnaissance in Antarctica, an international team of researchers is set to drill for a core that is likely to contain ice at least 1.5 million years old, and that should reveal details about the planet’s ancient climate.

The Beyond EPICA project, which the European Commission is expected to fund with about €11 million (US$12.5 million) in grants, is set to start formally in June. Next year, scientists on the team, which includes 12 groups from 10 European countries, plan to set up camp in an area of East Antarctica called little Dome C (see ‘Drilling deep’), and start drilling to the bottom of the 2.75-kilometre-thick ice sheet at a site there.

By: Quirin Schiermeier/Nature News

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