Seven years ago a team of scientists at Princeton University, beginning the study of ancient ice in the area of Allen hills in Antarctica. The object was the so-called “blue ice”, which is approximately 2.7 million years, which is 1.5 million over the previously obtained samples and occupies less than 1 % of the surface of the 6th continent. The results of the work were reported in the course of the next Goldsmithscouk conference on Geochemistry in Paris.

The Antarctic ice cores are a real treasure for climatologists. Thanks to them, scientists have a unique opportunity to learn about climate change on the planet for millions of years. Unique chemical marker are frozen in ice air bubbles. Studying their chemical composition, scientists learn about how varied the content of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

However, the old technology of vertical drilling did not give the desired results: the age of ice samples obtained did not exceed 800,000 years. Then the scientists decided to drill horizontal wells on the slopes of the Antarctic mountain ranges, where, as it turned out, lies the most ancient ice.

It was found that the CO2 content in the atmosphere in that distant time was only 300 ppm (molecules per million), about 100 ppm less than it is now.

Scientists eventually hope to get samples up to the age of 5 million years. The obtained cores will help to look into the era where on the planet CO2 levels were close to today’s, and thus to establish the historical relationship between climate and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.Source — Princeton