Antarctica latest: Scientists to drill THREE KILOMETRES into Antarctic 'time capsule'
Researchers from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) are planning on drilling three kilometres beneath the surface of the frozen continent. The AAD announced the drill on September 23 which will take them deep below the thick layers of ice in Antarctica. The experts are hoping to analyse tiny bubbles which have been caught up in the specks of snow and ice over millions of years.
These bubbles could hold the clues to climate change, the researchers announced.
Glaciologist Tas van Ommen said: "What we're embarking on over the next few years is to solve one of the last great problems in climate science.
"We'll see in the ice, tiny bubbles that are trapped between snowflakes in the ice as it gets buried.
"These tiny bubbles are time capsules of past atmosphere.
"We want to get that ice, analyse those time capsules and understand what carbon dioxide did in that period around one million years ago when the climate was changing."
More one million years ago, Earth underwent an Ice Age every 40,000 years. However, in the past one million years, an Ice Age has come about every 100,000 years.
Researchers, are unsure why this happened, but by analysing the carbon dioxide which has been caught in these "time capsules", they will be able to understand better why there was a climate shift.
The research will also give scientists a better idea of what the future of modern world's climate holds and what long-lasting damage carbon dioxide has on Earth's atmosphere.READ MORE: Antarctica breakthrough: Why 300m dig below Ross Ice Sheet stunned
Mr van Ommen said: "Carbon dioxide is tied up in that change and it changes the rate at which ice ages have worked in the past.
"We need to understand if the CO2 we put in the atmosphere will have long-term consequences for the Earth in the future."
According to a statement from the AAD, technicians are "putting the finishing touches on an ice core drill 'head' that will eventually bore 3000 metres into the Antarctic ice cap to extract the world's oldest continuous ice core."
The drill is made from stainless steel and is able to withstand temperatures of up to -55C, the AAD said.
Scientists will be situated 1200 kilometres inland in Antarctica, and will begin drilling for four years from 2021.
AAD director Kim Ellis said: "We are sending men and women into the most remote extreme environment on earth.
"It's a really challenging adventure."
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