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This is what two-million-year-old ice looks like

To see what might be the oldest ice on Earth, a camera was sent down 93m underground.

It is seen in video as it speeds down a borehole while researchers collect samples that they believe to be more than two million years old.

Austin Carter, a PhD student, filmed the clip at Allan Hills, East Antarctica on 23 December.

He was joined by other researchers at the Center for Old Ice Exploration, which is on a mission of extracting the continent’s oldest ice.


COLDEX hopes that its research will aid in understanding the future and evolution of Earth’s climate. This includes how vulnerable ice sheets are to higher levels greenhouse gases, and how Antarctica’s ice sheet might react to warmer climates.

The search area for potential sites can be used by GPS and radar surveys. However, the search area is large as the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is roughly the same size as America.

Scientists liken their five-year mission as trying to find a needle among haystacks. Initial explorations focus on an area half the size of Germany.

Learn more about Climate Change

According to Peter Neff, a glaciologist, “We are looking for the perfect location where you can have a complete sequence of ice that is on the order of two-miles thick,” he told the Antarctic Sun.

Analyzing the air bubbles in glacial ice can provide information about the Earth’s climate.

A 20-year-old East Antarctica ice core has provided scientists with a window into the past 800,000 years of climate and CO2 levels.

The current project hopes to go back even further.

Edward Brook, climate researcher and COLDEX director, stated that the goal was to extend the ice-core record of climate change as far as possible.

“It would be even more important if it could be moved back to three or four millions years or older.”


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